Rebecca Shirley, M.P.A. ’09, is currently the director of the Dahlonega Downtown Development Authority/Main Street Program.

Newsletter editor Maria J. Albo interviewed Becca.

Rebecca Shirley, M.P.A. ’09

Q. Why did you choose the M.P.A. program?
A. In 2008 I moved to Dahlonega to begin working with the City of Dahlonega’s Downtown Development Authority. I chose to also pursue an M.P.A. at that time through NGCSU because I wanted to expand my career and understanding of the public sector. The M.P.A. also goes along with my bachelor’s degree in international affairs and political science.

Q. How did your coursework in the M.P.A. program prepare you for your current position?
A. The variety of courses taught was complementary to what I was implementing in my day-to-day work at the time. I have taken that knowledge with me as I have grown in my profession.

Q. What experiences in the M.P.A. program were most meaningful in your career?
A. The group discussions were the most meaningful to me. These opportunities helped prepare me for more formal discussions, expressing ideas, presenting materials, etc., at work and within the community. This created a foundation that also grew my confidence as a professional and public speaker.

Q. If you had to provide a short 2-3 sentence blurb about your courses, the faculty and the major, what would you say?
A. The variety of courses and expertise of the faculty make the M.P.A. program at UNG very competitive to others within the state – not to mention it is likely the most affordable. The program’s courses after 5 p.m. were great for a nontraditional student, or anyone wishing to work while also attending school.

Downtown Dahlonega, organized around the landmark Dahlonega Gold Museum, is a remarkably quaint and active town center. From traditional Appalachian art and locally made gifts to trendy clothing shops and regional wine, Downtown Dahlonega offers the widest array of shopping within its 65 retail stores. North Georgia’s destination for casual and contemporary dining, the 18 restaurants in downtown Dahlonega offer something for every budget, for every night, and every one. Learn more at
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