As the 2016 commencement speaker for the Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) program, Alberto Morales '16 MPA said, "Being first-generation is crucial to my identity. It has shaped my understanding of the world and provided me with a sense of urgency." Morales' sense of urgency has continued, if not accelerated, since then.
"That sense of urgency comes from my lived experience of systems not moving fast and equitably enough…I help create a more equitable philanthropic sector that infuses the nonprofit community with adequate resources and support to grow their impact at the city, state and national level," said Morales, founder and CEO of Morales Consulting in Chicago. "Solving those problems ultimately comes down to investments, policy decisions and budgets," he said.
Morales' urgent desire to contribute as quickly as possible led him to look closely at the Watson Institute's MPA program (the only one-year program at the time). "The flexible and wide-ranging curriculum, Brown's reputation for learning and academics and the expertise of the faculty and staff all influenced my decision," said Morales. "I also wanted to get the training, academic background and skills to jump back into the workforce without a delay, so the accelerated one-year curriculum was also a major factor in my choosing Brown's MPA."
Morales cited several professors who informed his understanding of policy implementation and policy analysis, American education policy, and economics and statistics, including professors Susan Moffitt, Kenneth Wong, Shankar Prasad, John Friedman and Emily Oster.
While at Watson, Morales served as a research assistant to Moffitt on her education research for her co-authored book, "Reforming the Reform: Problems of Public Schooling in the American Welfare State." He said, "It was deeply humbling to see my name included in the author's acknowledgments. It's important to get policy implementation right — it's complex and requires intentional coordination of resources."