Suffolk Helps MPA Graduate Recommit her Life to the Common Good

If there’s a term that describes Leigh Handschuh MPA ’12, it’s “mission-driven.” Her mission? Working in nonprofits to speak on behalf of individuals whose voice in policy has been diminished. Women. Low-income communities. Children.

To this end, Handschuh found in Suffolk’s Moakley Center for Public Management “exciting, real-world connections to public service as well as the nonprofit sector” – centrally located in downtown Boston, the country’s premier nonprofit center. Coming off several years working for a small biotech company in the private sector, she was ready to change her focus to benefit the public good.

“Suffolk enabled me to quickly make connections, build networks and engage in meaningful internships and work,” she says, adding that her classmates impacted her professionally. “Each of my peers brought their own unique work experience, some with years of public sector experience in senior positions, and others fresh out of college. Each provided unique insights into career paths and all experiences were a value added when it came to class discussions.”

As a student, Handschuh earned a graduate fellowship and worked three semesters in the Moakley Center, where she found “opportunities to lead and execute public forums and seminars” and made connections with numerous community partners. These include stints with Higher Ground-Boston and The Boston Foundation, two well-respected organizations that serve and fund some of Massachusetts’ most vital nonprofits. Handschuh says this work has given her a taste of something she hopes to continue.

“I look forward to continue to work in the nonprofit sector and engage even more deeply in all areas of the Boston community, from East Boston to Mattapan – putting my strong data analysis skills and knowledge of good governance and best business practices for nonprofits to work,” she says. “While I am open to a variety of roles, one requirement that I have is that I believe in the organization’s mission – that is what drives me professionally and personally.”