While many students enjoyed a summer full of barbecues and beach trips, MPA student Kevin Forgett was hard at work, pursuing his career dreams.
“You work too long not to do what you love,” said Forgett, who hopes to become a town administrator one day.
In May, Forgett started a three-month internship with the town of Pembroke, Massachusetts. Working closely with Town Administrator Ed Thorne, Forgett was asked to draft a five-year capital and operational plan for all town departments.
Although the task was rife with challenges, Forgett was prepared to tackle it head on. He had already completed a full year in the Sawyer Business School’s Master of Public Administration program. Courses like Managing Financial Resources and Grant Writing and Management, offered an important foundation for him to get started on the project.
“I think every class that I had taken up to that point had certainly provided great theoretical framework for me to then go apply in an internship like this. I don’t think I would have been able to gain as much if I had only been through a couple classes or one semester,” he said.
Forgett met with town department heads to identify their goals for the next five years. His plan offers feasible, innovative ways to improve department efficiency and make services more accessible to residents. For many departments, that means embracing new technology and making more services available online.
At the end of his internship, Forgett presented the plan to the Board of Selectmen. “It was very well received,” he said. The next step is to find funding.
Forgett hopes the experience will help him land a position as an assistant town manager after he graduates in December. “Networking is so important because public management is a tough field to break into,” he said. Having connections can really help you stand apart from other job candidates, he added.
Thorne in particular played a key role in Forgett’s experience and will likely be a lifelong mentor. “Ed was fantastic. I think the most valuable part of the internship was shadowing him. He taught me something new every single day,” Forgett said.
Forgett also plans to stay connected to Sawyer Business School after he graduates, possibly serving as a mentor or guest lecturer in the future. "I have already benefitted so much from the MPA program, and I look forward to giving back after I graduate,” he said.