St. Petersburg College’s Public Policy Administration program is not just about politics. Senior Rafael Murga will graduate this summer with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy but hopes to use the degree to pursue a career in technology.
“My initial reaction is to say that this program changed the entire direction of my life — but the truth of the matter is that it gave me one,” he said. “Professor (Jeffery) Kronschnabl sparked the drive inside of me the first time I set foot in his classroom and made me realize what a true educator is. He has instilled the fact that what I am doing is truly a calling.”
In March, Murga was one of eight SPC students among 22 who took part in the inaugural Exploratory Lab Boot Camp.
Murga took advantage of the additional coursework made available to the team and earned his Cisco Certification. He was recently offered a summer internship at Tech Data that he hopes will result in a full-time job with their Cisco solutions team.
The boot camp took place at local companies Tech Data and Valpak and was designed as a business integration experience that compliments traditional classroom curriculum. The goal: to close the skills gap and increase interest in the technology industry among non-technology degree seeking students like Murga. View more pictures on Flickr.
He found being immersed in the Tech Data culture for a week with access to high-level executives invaluable.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “But I never would have stood out at Tech Data and the Exploratory Lab Boot Camp if not for being a Public Policy student at SPC.”
When Murga enrolled at SPC as a part-time student in 2012, he was working full time. His work for Best Buy’s Geek Squad, Verizon and Home Shopping Network sparked his interest in technology.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to see firsthand how communication and teamwork have become intertwined with technological leaps forward,” said Murga. “I always tell people that my degree says public policy, but it is really a course of study in leadership and collaboration.”
He was recently honored at the Seminole Campus as an outstanding student in the Public Policy program.
“Rafael is approachable, engaging and professional,” said Professor Kronschnabl. “His leadership traits are best demonstrated by the fact he would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t all about him – it was about how he could help others achieve their maximum potential.”
During his recent capstone project, a semester-long project that pulls together all the student has learned during their time at SPC, he presented a plan to create a framework to bring the Public Policy & Administration program fully online.
“His attention to detail was both concise and profound,” said Kronschnabl. “Rafael was never hesitant about taking on new challenges and often as a result, the resolutions suggested by him were both creative, effective and efficient. He is an engine!”
Like many of the students in SPC’s Public Policy program, Murga is passionate about making a difference in the world.
“Public Policy at St. Petersburg College is unlike any educational program I have ever seen,” said Murga. “The degree is structured so that students can realize that the only thing standing between them and positive change in the world they live in is the drive to go out and do it.”