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Public Service Scholarship Essay.

Humphrey's words strike a cord with every generation, including the more cynical generation within which I exist. His words call for people to embrace hope and vision, and reach toward progress through the development of solutions to shared concerns. We all love a hero, and American pop-culture capitalizes on the idea that society wants to believe that people exist who will fight for their freedom, democracy, and dreams. Movies, such as the recently released "U-571," use this message to inspire millions of moviegoers to celebrate (while watching the movie) examples of such courage.

However, choosing to be one of the fighters for the common good in contemporary society is anything but glorious, and rarely do auditoriums of people celebrate the daily feats that front-line public servants tackle. So, why do we do it? Because some of us know we need to be agents of positive change, as surely as we know that tomorrow morning, the sun will rise.

Common sense tells us that public service is a beneficial endeavor. However, only when serving the public is the root of the endeavor, is it truly beneficial. While this may seem obvious, much of society's skepticism is derived from the difficulty in determining which public is being served. Academicians, themselves, are in conflict over the best way to make decisions, as well as who needs to be involved in those decisions. Fortunately, following proper planning methods combined with effective leadership can alleviate disillusionment through the creation of community-valued solutions to commonly shared problems.

I wish to continue to be a facilitator in creating such community-valued solutions. Consequently, I am currently pursuing a joint master of public administration and policy and juris doctor (law) degree at Florida State University. This curriculum emphasizes practical and theoretical methods to succeed as a leader in the field of public service. I have chosen this comprehensive program to prepare for a career in public interest law, focusing on protecting women from violence, consumer advocacy issues, criminal justice reform, and criminal prosecution. I will graduate in May 2003 and begin my career with the hope of one day becoming Judge Rollini.

I believe that both attorneys and judges have a duty not only to administer justice according to the letter and the spirit of the law, but also to serve the public and the greater good within society. While judges are restricted by legal parameters, even they have some discretion that allows them to choose a utilitarian, public-oriented purpose. This purpose may include making recommendations for legislative changes that create a more just legal system, imposing maximum sentences for particularly heinous crimes, and creating alternative programs that rehabilitate rather than simply punish.

For this reason, I believe studying public administration in conjunction with the law will help me to act in the interest of the public good, make the right choice in difficult ethical dilemmas, remain impartial by keeping politics and administration separate, and recognize the crucial importance of every individual having an equal chance under the law.

Elevating the image of public service must begin with an individual effort to teach our young people the value of community involvement by weaving honorable service into our own chosen careers. Public servants must encourage democratic participation to create innovative and modern solutions, rather than fostering outdated and ineffective policies. Public administrators and decision makers must empower "street level bureaucrats" to offer common sense solutions.

The public service sector must discover innovative methods of inspiring and captivating those inclined to choose service over profit by presenting a vision of public service that is greater than the desire for wealth, and providing opportunities and benefits that compete with the private sector. By choosing the path of public service, we have the unique opportunity to redefine the notion of "success" and the "American Dream" to include success of public contribution; a success I plan to enjoy.

Gigi Rollini is a candidate for a joint master of public administration and policy and juris doctor (law) degree at Florida State University. This is a winning essay in the Public Employees Roundtable's scholarship competition.
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Author:ROLLINI, GIGI
Publication:The Public Manager
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2000
Words:679
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