December 2021 Alumni Spotlight
We talk to Emergency Management Coordinator at the NYC Department of Education and alumnus, Roy Frias about the challenges of emergency management, his social action projects, and more.
How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your role as Emergency Management Coordinator at the NYC Dept. of Education?
What I’ve seen happen is what most people have seen: a complete shift in how we continue to make business operations happen. As the pandemic started, I definitely underestimated the potential impact of the virus in terms of time (how long it was going to last). Being in between generations, I had to take advantage of my talents in communication to keep my managers up-to-date and work with my team to continue to progress our projects. In my case, I’m working on renovating school buildings and mitigating them to be prepared to take in the public for emergency sheltering purposes. When everything temporarily switched online, I had to find new ways to communicate our priorities. It may seem like a simple shift now, but at the time we had to recreate how we get our work done. Ultimately, it may be for the better.
What was your MPA experience like at the Marxe School?
My time at Marxe was lovely. I was personally going through a lot of change in my life and I felt challenged professionally to keep growing.
What attained skills have you utilized at your job in emergency management?
There’s just a raw skillset in how to understand information that I feel puts me at an advantage at my day-to-day. Whether it’s the breakdown of a public event or managing timelines on my projects. Nothing feels too big anymore. I hope I don’t sound too figurative but I feel like the MPA experience at Marxe made me feel more confident approaching work. Administratively, I feel more like a pro.
You’ve been involved in so many progressive movements and initiatives over the years. What are some of your proudest accomplishments and experiences?
I’ve been able to find meaning throughout my career working on different projects in the public sector. In East New York, I was proud to see some of my youth development/urban agriculture work be replicated nationally. I’ve worked to have laws passed, and have been able to help the neighborhood I grew up in develop. Now working in NYC Schools, I’m thrilled knowing that my projects are making the buildings themselves better. I think whatever small piece of change is worth it, and I hope to continue to see more Marxe alumni impacting the world!