Alumnus Scott Dosick Thinks Big on Local Level

March 23, 2015

Scott Dosick, MPA ’96, chose to get his Master of Public Administration at the George Washington University to take advantage of the school’s location and its ability to connect students with opportunities throughout the federal government.

While he was still a student, Dosick was involved in what is now the Capital Pathways program. He worked full time at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a budget analyst while taking classes toward his degree.

“That was probably the most complementary time in my life,” he said. “There was a direct link between class and work. The things I learned in class applied directly to my work and things at work helped me in the classroom.”

It was also a great chance to kindle Dosick’s passion for public service.

“I had no desire to focus on state or local government, because I wanted to make big changes and focus on big issues,” he said. “To me, that meant federal-level or global-level engagement.”

So how did a guy with a passion for big, federal change end up working for a state governor and serving on a local school board?

It was all part of the journey.

During a trip home to California, Dosick stopped in to say hello to his former boss at the EPA’s Air and Radiation Office. That visit turned into a job offer helping to build up then-Gov. Gray Davis’ recycling programs.

He took the job and enjoyed the work—until Gov. Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

At that point, Dosick began working with nonprofits whose missions related to conservation, youth and at-risk young adults. The nonprofit world taught him how to apply for, and work with, grant money.

Three years ago, Dosick ran for school board in hopes that his big picture experiences might contribute on a local level. After a low-budget, grassroots campaign, Dosick was elected as a Governing Board Member for the Natomas Unified School District, located in the Sacramento area.

“I’ve found that my ability to affect change grows exponentially the more local I get,” he said. “As a school board member, I make decisions every month that directly affect 13,000 families. My votes affect change within days or weeks.”

One year ago, Dosick became a Research Program Specialist in the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), playing a lead role in the new "California Competes" tax credit program. California Competes provides income tax credits to companies that expand in, or relocate to, California and create new full-time jobs. His time spent working on grants with the nonprofits prepared him for the similar system of awarding credits through California Competes.

Whether he’s been working on micro- or macro-level issues, Dosick has always been passionate about public service.

“Focus on the big picture,” he advised. “Pick something you care about and an area where you can make a difference. Even if the position itself isn’t glamorous, the mission matters. I started as a budget wonk and got that job because I knew how to use Excel. The mission of the EPA mattered, and I was part of it.”

Today, Dosick’s missions include building California’s economy and ensuring a quality education for the students of Natomas Unified School District. Dosick embodies the GW Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration’s mission of “doing good and doing it well.”