MEET RYAN MEISNER (B.A. URBAN STUDIES ‘16, MPA ‘17)
- B.A., Urban Studies, Cleveland State University
- Master of Public Administration, Cleveland State University
Where are you currently residing?
Where are you from?
Position Title: Budget Fellow II
Place of Employment: New York State Division of the Budget
Job Duties: I serve as a budget examiner for local government affairs and operations. The duties are varied, but here's what that looks like:
- Tracking, analyzing, and reporting on the fiscal health and various needs of the State's local governments, including New York City
- Helping to oversee $800 million in annual local aid, managing shared services grants, and helping deliver the Executive's goal of reducing property taxes by re-engineering local government operations
- Addressing local government issues and challenges, including analysis and project coordination for the Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments
- Assisting in the annual production of an impact analysis of the State budget on local governments
- Budgeting the State Operations financial plan for the Financial Control Board for New York City
Why did you decide to attend Levin?
I originally chose to attend Levin because of its focus on the city. Cities are such inviting settings for interdisciplinary study. I got to learn about history, sociology, political science, geography, architecture – you name it. As my interests gravitated toward government, I stayed for the great professors and rich tradition in the MPA program.
How did your experience at Levin influence your career path?
There's a straight line between my academic experience at Levin and my current career path. Every day in my job, I combine what I learned about what makes a place a place, with how to run government. There's countless classes that shaped my path – but Professor Guzman's budgeting class and Professor Mead's and Patrick Sweeney's Columbus Seminar introduced me to municipal finance and state government. Without those, I wouldn't have even known the path I'm on existed.
What's your favorite Levin memory?
Dr. Zingale's Capstone Seminar in Public Administration. You get few true opportunities to exhaustively--and I emphasize exhaustively--run the gamut of an entire academic field, find a question you're genuinely curious about, and interrogate that question, all the while surrounded by experts and classmates doing the same thing.
What piece of advice do you have for current Levin graduate students?
If there's something that interests you or that you're curious about – even if it's just a little, and no matter what it is – run as far as you can with it until you grow sick of it. Read everything you can about it, talk to your professors and classmates about it, ask dumb questions about it. If you do grow sick of it, don't feel pressured to stick with it: find the next thing, and run with that.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned at Levin?
I learned my most valuable lesson at Levin by seeing the passion of some retired professors who were still teaching, still writing, still thinking, and still contributing to the discourse, as well as the dedication of the more non-traditional of my fellow classmates. The lesson was that a life devoted to ideas and the public can be endlessly fulfilling – and that learning is a lifelong endeavor.
What issues are you passionate about/what inspires you?
I'm actually inspired by the current and future challenges facing public administration and cities. It's an invigorating time to be a public servant, with dwindling public resources, shaken public trust, and a bitter societal contestation of the public good. Amidst that, I get to wake up every day thinking about new and better ways to administer local and state institutions that educate people, heal people, and save people's lives. What's more inspiring than that?