Mid-Career MPA Alumni Interview - Deanne A. Titus

Name:  Deanne A. Titus
HKS Degree Program:  Mid-Career MPA
Policy Area Studied:  Business and Government Policy
HKS Graduation Year:  2010

Undergraduate School(s):  University of West Georgia

Current Position and Employer: Analyst, U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of the Inspector General

Personal History

I began my career in public service as the Chief of Staff to Atlanta City Council Member Natalyn Archibong.  In Council Member Archibong’s office, I supervised the requests for over 30,000 East Atlanta residents—including the successful coordination of the District 5 Senior Services Seminar, the drafting of the Moreland Avenue Drug-Free Commercial Zone Ordinance and the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance.
Shortly before attending HKS, I served as a Public Information Manager with Clean Water Atlanta, the city’s comprehensive, multi-billion dollar infrastructure overhaul initiative. Keeping in mind Clean Water Atlanta’s goal of creating the cleanest urban streams and rivers in the country within a decade, I managed public outreach to communities in the northern portion of the city and coordinated the efforts to pass the citywide Water and Sewer Municipal Option Sales Tax, which helped fund renovations to the aging water and sewer infrastructure system.

Question and Answer

What sparked your interest in HKS?

At the HKS Open House in December 2008, I observed Professor Joseph Kalt’s Strategy, Competition and Regulation class.  I was surprised when Professor Kalt used some of my experiences as a discussion topic for his class.  The students in the class began analyzing many of the obstacles I faced as a Public Information Manager with the City of Atlanta’s multi-billion dollar water and sewer infrastructure program, and as they continued to debate, I knew that HKS was the place to advance my education and career.

How has what you learned at HKS helped you in your professional life?

I wanted to obtain my graduate degree to transition from water and sewer infrastructure to transportation. Professor Tony Gomez-Ibanez’s Transportation Policy class gave me the background and initial subject matter knowledge to walk out of HKS, directly into the Office of Inspector General with the U. S . Dept of Transportation, where I conduct oversight of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.  

Did you become involved with any of the centers or programs during your time at HKS?
Yes, I was a 2010 cohort member of the From Harvard Square to the Oval Office Practicum Program with the Women and Public Policy Program Center. I also served as a Dean’s Ambassador during HKS Open House events.

Did you take advantage of other resources at Harvard during your time as a student?

Yes, I was the only HKS student selected to participate in the Harvard China Fund Winter Service Learning Program. The participants were students across the Harvard community and included representation from the Law School, the Education School, the Business School and the college.  Participation in the program gave me the opportunity to develop curriculum and teach English to over 40 primary school aged children in Inner Mongolia and received classes on Chinese economy and educational systems at Peking University in Beijing.