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How a Pepperdine MPP Degree Prepares you for a Career in Education Policy

Hattie Mitchell

Public Policy Career Path

While in college, Dr. Hattie Mitchell (MPP '12) volunteered in downtown Los Angeles at Skid Row as part of a school outreach program, and it was during this experience, that she saw a six-month old child crawling on the sidewalk. It was at that moment, Mitchell knew she would dedicate her life and passion to the education system. As she looked as this young child, she could only hope that she would keep the happiness and optimism of youth when confronted by all the obstacles she would face later in life.

Mitchell wholeheartedly believes the best chance that people have at succeeding in life, for building a better future for themselves and their family, is through education; to never stop learning and to help others. For this reason, she opened a school for students ranging from T-K through sixth grade named Crete Academy, based on the Greek word for "create." At Crete Academy, Mitchell promotes the idea that by choosing to pursue education, students and their families are making the conscious decision to build a better future for themselves. Crete Academy focuses on students in their entirety which includes their family, most of which are all located in South Los Angeles.

Hattie Mitchell walking around a classroom with young kids


Putting the "Public" Back into Public Policy

Mitchell enrolled in Pepperdine's School of Public Policy (SPP) because Pepperdine's core values not only aligned with her own, but the program focused on how to create public policy and why people need to create good public policy. Mitchell appreciates how SPP teaches its students to ask the important question of whether or not a policy should even be created in the first place, and does this by humanizing public policy. To SPP, the public is not just a collection of various data sets, they are people who are trying to live. 

Hattie Mitchell talking in a meeting setting


As she discovered, other public policy, MPA, or MBA programs did not align with this similar curriculum and did not focus enough on the inner workings of society. In SPP's program, Mitchell attests to learning both how to conduct research and put it into a policy format. SPP allowed her to develop the skills needed to truly serve and better the community. Through her experience in higher education, Mitchell promotes the importance of always pursuing knowledge and does so by providing a unique college-prep program for all of her students at Crete Academy.  According to Mitchell, a master's in public policy opens up a variety of career fields because it teaches you how to think both on a micro and macro level, and to address problems through cross sector policy levers (government, business, and nonprofits).

Hattie watching young children lineup


Mitchell is grateful to Pepperdine for helping her develop into the activist and the leader she is today and looks forward to the next 20 years during which she hopes that she can keep providing education and guidance to many young children. She hopes to continue to help cultivate policies that help people find opportunities to better their lives that will allow them to seek education, rise out of poverty, and above all else, make their dreams their new reality.