Alumni Spotlight – Allyson Ragan, Short-Range Planner, Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG)

Allyson Ragan is a 2021 O’Neill School alumnus who majored in Public Financial Management. She currently works as a Short-Range Planner at the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG). Below are insights on her journey and advice for current O’Neill students:

  • Can you tell our students a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?

I received my undergraduate degree in 2020 from O’Neill in Public Financial Management, and then got a master’s degree in 2021 in Community and Economic Development through the Accelerated Master’s Program. 2 weeks after graduation I started at Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) as a Short-Range Planner, where I have been ever since.

  • What did your professional journey look like from college to your position today?

In college, I had a few internships, which is where I discovered my love for local government. Looking back, I really appreciate the fact that O’Neill requires an internship as it helped me discover what I like to do.

  • What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow your career path?

Say yes to every experience that is presented to you, it is so easy to get focused on going in one direction but saying yes can help you find something you love, so you don’t want to limit yourself.

  • What skills are most important in your role?

I would say that the most important skills to have in my role are Excel skills, Presentation skills, Grant Writing, and knowing how to use GIS (Geographic Information System)

  • What courses, if any, from your degree program were particularly helpful in your career/current position?  Do you have any course recommendations for current students?

Definitely the Grant Writing course (SPEA-V 481), as well as all of my Public Finance courses like SPEA-V 186. Working in government, it was also helpful to take courses relating to the local government like SPEA-V 340. Even the Career Development class, SPEA-V 252 was helpful to my career search.

By Lauren Johnson
Lauren Johnson Peer Educator