Trinity Anzur and Amy Griffith made college history on July 21 when they became the first Public Policy and Administration graduates.
The Public Policy and Administration program launched in fall 2010. The four-year degree program, which began with 10 students and now has about 75, offers an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of policy development and implementation through direct government action. The primarily face-to-face courses are offered at the Seminole and Clearwater campuses but some blended courses and limited online courses also are available.
“The success of the program has been extraordinary,” said Jeffrey Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge for Public Policy and Administration at the Seminole Campus. “We’ve had students interning all over the county — in the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Belleair — and they have been doing extremely well.”
Kronschnabl worked extensively with Anzur and Griffith in several classes.
“These two ladies worked very hard and have shown a strong commitment to their education,” he said. “They took an overload of classes. They were successful in every endeavor.”
Meet the graduates
As a single mother, Trinity Anzur recognized the importance of an education. It would help make a better life for her and her 6-year-old son, Cooper.
After moving to St. Pete Beach around 2000, the northwestern Indiana native began taking classes for an associate’s degree the following year.
“I was trying to look for something that I could do that is close to home, and something that would be good for me and my son,” said Anzur, 36.
Although she then moved away for about seven years for employment opportunities, she returned to pick up where she left off with her degree.
While visiting with an academic advisor in 2010, the new Public Policy and Administration baccalaureate degree came up.
“They told me about the program and I thought it sounded interesting,” she said. “I think having a bachelor’s degree is a big benefit. Especially in the job economy today, it’s just an advantage.”
With the program being so new, the classes were smaller, helping Anzur and her fellow students form study groups and develop relationships that will last beyond the July 21 graduation day.
“It really made things more comfortable when there were speeches that had to be done and stuff like that,” she said. “Knowing everybody made it a little easier.
“I had a friend that graduated from USF and she didn’t have the group connection that I have here with my classmates,” Anzur said. “With my classmates, we still talk on the phone and text. We’re even going to lunch in the next couple days.”
She hopes the example she has created of getting a bachelor’s degree will leave a good impression on her son.
“I think it will have a positive effect on him,” she said. “He didn’t like that I was gone at school all the time, but he understands that I was doing it to benefit our family.”
Anzur is interested in pursuing a law degree with a focus on family law.
“It’s something I’ve thought about but I’m a little burned out on school right now and I might take a semester or two off,” she said. “But it’s still something in the back of my mind.”
After taking classes at institutions such as Temple University, La Salle and even Penn State University, Amy Griffith’s academic path took a turn when her Coast Guard engineer husband, Steve, received relocation orders to St. Petersburg three years ago.
When the Philadelphia native began looking into the programs at St. Petersburg College, she was impressed.
“Even from just calling SPC and actually talking to a real person,” said Griffith, 29. “It beat the other schools hands-down.”
She enrolled at SPC and began working toward an associate’s degree in nursing when an advisor told her about the new Public Policy and Administration bachelor’s degree program.
“I thought that would be perfect because I wanted to work in hospital administration and not really patient care,” Griffith said. “So the Public Policy and Administration really looked good for me.”
Only needing a few more classes to get a general Associate in Arts degree, she changed her major to liberal arts and graduated with her associate’s degree. She then enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program.
“The program itself is great. The classes build upon each other, and the way they have them scheduled is perfect,” she said.
“I loved it here,” she said. “I’ve been through bigger universities in Philadelphia, and this program, and the college, was the best experience out of all of them.”
She already has received two job offers from the state of Florida and from a hospital. She next wants to pursue a master’s degree in health administration from Penn State or St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
“All of the counselors I’ve talked to for master’s degree programs said the public policy and administration degree looks really good for doing any kind of health administration.”