“I’m grateful to the Evans School for giving me, among other things, a robust skillset. The courseload pushed me to work in capacities that I knew were my weaknesses, but building those were exactly what I needed.”
- Chris Runyan (MPA ’03)
After earning a BA in Political Science and History from Ohio University, Runyan worked for a law firm in Washington, D.C., for several years but then took a position with the Eurasia Foundation in Kazakhstan and then in Uzbekistan working on civil society strengthening and economic development. As Runyan assumed more management and leadership responsibility, he sought a graduate degree in public administration that also combined an international development program. “The Evans School offered an opportunity to focus on non-governmental organization management and develop my core public policy skills in ways that would help me in my work,” says Runyan.
After joining the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Presidential Management Fellow and then completing assignments with the U.S. Department of State, Runyan is currently director for African affairs on the National Security Council staff at the White House. Runyan credits the Evans School faculty whose classroom credibility, willingness to provide learning opportunities with practitioners, and evaluation of real-life experiences as having particularly enriched his experience. “You can’t underestimate the value of the case study work we did,” says Runyan. “It’s like training on a flight simulator. Instruction from people who have some professional experience is good before you fly your own first plane.”