January 2021 Alumni Spotlight
Felicia Crivello, MPA ‘20
“Even when I think what I’m doing is small, it’s often huge to the person on the receiving end. That’s what drives me.” MPA alumna Felicia Crivello talks about her time at Marxe, her role at the New York State Senate Majority Conference, and more.
Tell us about your experience at Marxe.
My time within the Marxe School was certainly challenging, balancing school with a full-time job, volunteer work and life itself. But it was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I’ve had. My peers were so friendly and helpful, something I wasn’t expecting at all. We challenged each other to be better academically, but at the same time, lent any expertise we had to ensure we all thrived. I’ve learned so much from them culturally and professionally, and that to me, adds so much value to higher education. My professors were true researchers. I learned about policy and political rhetoric and managing employees at a non-profit. I learned how to conduct my own statistical research, create GIS maps, and deliver a speech that was concise yet relatable. Marxe professors love what they do and have a passion for CUNY students and what we represent. The career office provided endless support, something I had never experienced from a college and I was afforded opportunities to participate in conferences and earn scholarships to help manage some of the financial burden. Most importantly, the Marxe School knew who I was. I wasn’t just an applicant or tuition statement, which was a result of both my interest and theirs. The Marxe program wanted me to succeed, and I did that and then some.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you professionally?
I am very fortunate in that I did not lose employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I work in External Relations for the New York State Senate Majority Conference, which meant that my job as a public servant amplified tremendously. I was working around the clock on issues that ranged from filing for unemployment to helping people find hand sanitizer and make sure our senior citizens had access to fresh food. It was hard and draining work, but it was the kind of “make a difference” work I’m honored to be a part of throughout my time working for NYS Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The pandemic did, however, halt some growth opportunities. As an upcoming graduate, I had been excited to see what I could pursue, where I could travel, what I could research. But, in comparison to what we experienced around the globe in terms of employment loss, I have been incredibly lucky and I do not take one day for granted.
What drew you to your chosen career path? What still drives you?
Wanting to help people, our environment and our animal cohabitants. That’s really what it boils down to. I’ve always known I wanted to make a difference, but never really knew where I fit to do that. I’m interested in so many things, to a fault, I think. I want to ensure our climate is stable and protected for generations to come, advocate to break the stigma surrounding mental illness, help people experiencing homelessness with companion animals gain access to shelters. How I hope to achieve such, is by writing new policy, publishing helpful research and getting out into the field. Government seemed like a really good start to that and it has certainly allowed me to dip my toes in each of these areas. My role in government isn’t hyper-specialized, so I am always trying different things and working on different issues. What still drives me, in addition to currently being in a public health pandemic, is the fact that what I’m doing does help. Even when I think what I’m doing is small, it’s often huge to the person on the receiving end. That’s what drives me.