Russ Cornelia always wanted to make an impact. Even after serving as an Army officer and U.S. Coast Guard civilian employee, he wasn’t content with stopping there.

Veteran Assistance Leads to Career Opportunities

Cornelia enrolled in Suffolk University’s MPA Program following his time in the service and graduated earlier this year.

“I chose the MPA Program to build on my past experience, learn new skills, and leverage my degree to secure a career with even greater responsibilities and potential for growth in the future,” he said.

Today, he holds a full-time position within the U.S. General Services Administration.

“Growing up in the Boston area, I was long aware of Suffolk's reputation of producing local and state public leaders. And in more recent years, I became aware of Suffolk’s proactive approach of attracting and supporting veterans.”

Suffolk is a member of the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, which provides tuition assistance of up to $25,000 per academic year for veterans enrolling in the University, like Cornelia.

“Suffolk’s institutional generosity empowered me to concentrate on my studies and to worry less about my education financing,” he said.

Aside from the financial assistance, Cornelia said the MPA program exceeded all of his academic expectations, too.

“I found that Suffolk had the most open-minded—and veteran friendly—professors who promoted discussions from liberal, moderate, and conservative points of view.”

Cornelia’s MPA professors didn't expect the students to simply repeat their opinions back, but to counter or expound upon ideas from the texts and bring them to life.

“We didn't just study the challenges facing our nation,” Cornelia said. “We collaborated and discussed real-world solutions to them.”

Extending Education Abroad

MPA students like Cornelia also have the flexibility of taking Global Travel Seminars, a unique experience to build an international network, experience a new culture, and gain firsthand exposure to international business issues and concepts.

Cornelia was able to enroll in two seminars—Business in Brazil, and Business in China. He and his peers visited Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Shanghai, and many places in between.

“The experience truly made the world my classroom and taught me things I simply could not have learned without studying overseas,” he said.

Drawing from Real-World Experience

Cornelia also noted the way his professors were able to bring their real-world experience to life inside the classroom.

“From collaboration with police unions, to private sector experience, to county, state, and international-level public sector leadership expertise, I appreciated the varied realms of experience that Professors Bond, Burke, Melconian, Rufin, Barretti, and Snow brought in from their outside lives.”

After combining past and new experiences, Cornelia was more than ready to land a job and continue his goal of serving the public.

“After enrolling at Suffolk, my passion for the subject matter rose to a level I truly had not anticipated,” he said. “By the week of graduation, I had passed the Foreign Service Officer test, was offered three competitive jobs in the public sector, and received an acceptance letter to a prestigious graduate certificate program in Italy.”