Stephanie Moulton was working for an Indiana nonprofit housing and community development organization when she began to see the writing on the wall. It was still early in the millennium, and the housing market was booming, but she had an unusual vantage point from which to see the coming crash.
Her desire to uncover the public policies and initiatives that might help the situation led her to pursue a master’s degree in public administration at Ball State. Soon after, however, she became intrigued by the faculty at IU SPEA. “I truly respected what David Reingold and Les Lenkowsky were writing about housing and low income households,” she recalls, so she looked into transferring to IU.
Not long after she arrived at SPEA, the market crashed. And while that was in some ways good news for Moulton—at last, the country was interested in what she had to say—the economic collapse didn’t spare her family. Her husband, an elementary school teacher, couldn’t find work, and it seemed like pursuing her doctorate was a risky bet in an unstable market.
Through her mentors at SPEA, Moulton was able to plow through the rough patch and go on to distinguish herself as a rising star in her field. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she received a job offer from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University, where she now teaches.
As she continues her research on housing finance and ways to educate home buyers, she looks back on her crisis of confidence as the moment when SPEA faculty changed the course of her life.
“They saw talent in me that, at that point, I wasn’t able to see in myself,” she says. “Another school might have said, ‘Okay, this is part of the weed-them-out process.’ But it’s not like that at SPEA. Once you’re there, they really want you to succeed.”