Embracing Data and a Passion for Public Service

By Mariah Brothe, MPA '17
May 27, 2016

For more than 50 years, the George Washington University has worked to cultivate a passion for public service in its students. Maria Doulis, MPA ’05, Vice President of the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) in New York and Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration alumna, epitomizes this passion.

Maria earned a Bachelor of Political Science from Queens College, City University of New York.  After a few years working in the field, she returned to school in order to develop her analytical skillset. She was initially drawn to George Washington University for the school’s reputation as well as its location in Washington, D.C., close to major political institutions.

“My early interactions with the faculty after I was accepted were the real selling point…The faculty had an open door policy and encouraged non-classroom dialogue,” Maria said of her final decision to attend GW.

As a policy analyst at CBC, Maria found herself drawing heavily on her training in policy analysis and budgeting. Now serving as Vice President, she regularly calls on the management courses she took while at the Trachtenberg School.

“I think GW imbues students with a very practical sense of the way politics and policy work that is essential for anyone serving in public or private sectors,” she said.

Not only does Maria remember the strong curriculum and accommodating faculty at GW, but also the interactions with her peers in the classroom.

“My fellow students were also great repositories of knowledge, beliefs, and experience,” said Maria when speaking of what stood out as her best experiences as a student.

To those considering a degree in public administration, she encourages students to become more comfortable with numbers, saying that fear of numbers, “will hinder you in this data-driven world.”