Garrett Sobalvarro

Why did you choose the O’Neill Online MPA program?
The skills gained in an MPA program, I think, are broadly applicable across a number of public career tracks. As a military officer, and as someone who aspires to work in the policy arena after my military service is complete, I wanted a degree that would help me achieve my goals and gain a greater understanding of policy formulation and analysis. It was important to me that I enrolled in a reputable school, known for the rigor of its program, where I was certain to actually learn. At the time I applied, O’Neill was the only MPA program in the top 10 of the rankings that was even offering their degree via distance learning. While a couple of other competing schools have recently begun to follow O’Neill’s lead, the O’Neill Online Program is obviously the most established and well respected of its kind.

How has the flexibility of the online program helped you to balance all of your responsibilities?

In my personal life, I’m a husband and a father to three preschool aged children. In my professional life where I’m an active duty officer serving in the reserve component, or an Active Guard Reserve officer in military parlance. For most of the time I have been in the O’Neill Online program I’ve had two jobs for the army, one as the commander of a detachment of over 100 soldiers and the second as the plans officer form my battalion, working training and operations for a unit of more than 350 soldiers. All of that in combination with pursuing an MPA, you could say I probably keep myself too busy—which is why the flexibility in O’Neill’s program has been what has enabled me to juggle so many different responsibilities. This past spring I got to travel overseas for a week with the Army and I recall listening to one of my economics professors lectures while riding a train across northern Italy—O’Neill Online’s teaching platform is that accessible and flexible.