Our Students

Our students represent a wide variety of interests and professional backgrounds, but they share a commitment to a career in the public sector. EMPA students come to the program from careers as diverse as local and state government, healthcare administration, law enforcement, educational administration, military, and nonprofit management.

Upon graduation, our students join a vast network of fellow alumni, many of whom work locally. This provides a valuable community for career development. Graduates of our program remain closely connected to the program and to each other throughout their careers.


“I’m an EMPA to learn and become more valuable as a city administrator. I also want to prove to myself that I can do this.” Kurt Hansen, Millcreek City services director

“I’m an EMPA because I want to increase my skills to make a difference in the world. I have no interest in working in government, but I love nonprofits and thought the courses looked like relevant skills in or out of the public sector.” Peter Tolman, LDS Seminaries and Institutes seminary principal

“I’m an EMPA because I want the knowledge to be a leader, both in my professional position and in humanitarian work.” Natalie Gay

“I’m an EMPA because I want to improve my knowledge and skills to be a better employee, wife, grandmother, and servant in the Church.” Michelle Stevenson, Missionary Training Center administrative assistant

“I’m a BYU EMPA because it enabled me to get a superior higher education while allowing me to continue my full-time career. The classes at night were ideal for my situation.” Daniel Softley, Provo City director of human services

I’m a BYU MPA because I want to learn and develop personally and professionally. Pattie Shumway, MTC executive assistant

“I’m an EMPA because I desire to serve. The program is helping me to take my experience and desire to serve and apply it to a sector focused on the public good.” Kristin Yee, LDS Church Interactive & Animation team manager


  • Learn to say no to non-essentials. It’s OK if some things have to drop out of your life for a time.
  • Plan fun things so that you have something to look forward to during the difficult times.
  • Spend time building relationships with your teammates and classmates. They will help to motivate, encourage, and support you through the program.
  • Make a detailed schedule that includes time for things other than work and school. Stick to it.
  • Get to know your professors; they want to help you succeed. Let their passion for public service rub off on you.
  • Develop a good stress management tool (mine is exercise).
  • Compartmentalize and motivate yourself with quick wins when needed.


  • Don’t underestimate your abilities.
  • Don’t neglect the basics like prayer and scripture study.
  • Don’t aim for perfection. If you can look back and say that you gave it your best effort given all the demands in your life, then that will be enough.

“The EMPA program has given me a lot of confidence. My MPA degree makes me feel that I accomplished something really special and reminds me that I can do hard things. It is also a resume highlight; I know that my MPA from BYU stacks up well against anybody.” Daniel Softley, Provo City director of human services

“The EMPA program has made me more aware of the political environment in which I work, and the program has helped me become much more effective at interpreting and presenting critical data.” Jacob Chrisman, Utah Municipal Power Agency marketing manager

“My EMPA degree has opened doors and provided greater service opportunities both professionally and personally.” Travis Tasker

“What I didn’t know when I started was how dramatically the EMPA program would impact every aspect of my life—especially my personal life—for the better. Doing this program completely changed my future, not only financially, but also in mission, vision and purpose.” Andrea Ramsey

“The EMPA program has helped me broaden my skill set and experience, giving me unique abilities to bring to any position that I accept in the future. It has also prepared me to tackle conflict in a more constructive way.” Elyse Bradley, BYU executive assistant

“I will never worry so much about work again. Being able to do this while I work at the same time makes me think that I can do anything. I think learning to work with and for lots of different kinds of people will help me anywhere.” Karla Ward, BYU Wheatley Institution business and events manager

“The EMPA program has given me a deeper understanding of management. It has taught me more about people and how to understand them and motivate them.” Kurt Hansen, Millcreek City City services director

“The EMPA has given me a better understanding of government and nonprofit structures, processes, and challenges, which will help me to knowledgeably enter into and navigate these sectors. It has helped to change my focus and empowered me to focus on what motivates me most—helping people.” Kristin Yee, LDS Church Interactive & Animation team manager

“The EMPA program has helped me to be proactive about solving problems in my department. I have more confidence in sharing my opinion and vision.” Michelle Stevenson, MTC executive assistant

No, the United States government requires international students to participate in full-time programs. The EMPA program is a part-time program.