“Our MPA program gives students the tools to work on real problems.  We emphasize applied, real-life projects across our classes, from budgeting to evaluation to management.  Then, as professionals, when a crisis hits—like a hurricane, flood, factory closing, or budget crisis—they don’t question their ability to jump in and attack the problem, because they have already been there.  Our degree matches theory with practice.  Our graduates are ready from day one.”
—Maureen Berner, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government

Many of Carolina’s MPA alumni are being asked to apply their expertise and leadership to the enormous economic challenges confronting our state. To further investigate the work they are doing, visit their respective web sites listed below.


Dempsey BentonDempsey Benton, a 1972 graduate, has been appointed director of the North Carolina Office of Economic Recovery & Investment. The office is charged with coordinating and monitoring the state’s handling of federal stimulus funds. Benton most recently served as secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Before that he was chief deputy secretary of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and served as manager of Raleigh and Elizabeth City as well as finance director for Rocky Mount. For more information about the Office of Economic Recovery, visit

Verla InskoRepresentative Verla Insko, a 1993 graduate, has represented Orange County in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 1997. She is chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, vice-chairman of the Appropriations and Education subcommittees and a member of the House Select Committee on Economic Recovery. She was primary sponsor of the bill that created the high-risk health insurance pool and was primary co-sponsor of the mental health parity bill. Visit Representative Insko's website for more information.

Elaine MejiaElaine Mejia, a 1998 graduate, is project director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, a program of the North Carolina Justice Center. She is the state's most visible independent expert on state fiscal policy issues affecting low and moderate income people. Before joining the Justice Center, Mejia served as a North Carolina Governor's Public Management Fellow with the Office of State Budget and Management and the Office of State Personnel. Visit the NC Budget and Tax Center and Mejia's blog at Progressive Pulse for more information. See Elaine Mejia's profile on the Carolina MPA alumni site.

Charles PerusseCharles Perusse, a 1994 graduate, is North Carolina's state budget director and a member of Gov. Beverly Perdue's administration. After earning a master's degree in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked for the legislature's Fiscal Research Division and then served as deputy state budget director under Gov. Mike Easley's administration. Read a March 14, 2009, article in the News & Observer about the budget director. Visit the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management for updated information.

John QuinternoJohn Quinterno, a 2002 graduate, joined the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, a program of North Carolina Justice Center, as a research associate in May 2005. Previously, Quinterno worked as the assistant director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media & Public Life, a think tank based at UNC-Chapel Hill. There, he wrote for and edited the political magazines SouthNow and NC DataNet. Quinterno is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame. See an archive of recent publications on economic issues by John Quinterno at the NC Justice Center website.

Sen. Richard StevensSenator Richard Stevens, a 1978 graduate and an adjunct instructor with the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA program, has represented Wake County in the North Carolina General Assembly since 2002. He is co-chairman of the Appropriations on Education/Higher Education and the Education/Higher Education committees, and sits on the Finance, Commerce, and State and Local Government Committees. From 1984 to 2000, he served as Wake County manager. He has also served as Wake County assistant manager, and has held numerous positions with the City of Durham, including director of finance and assistant city manager. Visit Senator Stevens' website for more information.

Andy WillisAndy Willis, a 1996 graduate, is senior advisor for governmental affairs, Governor Beverly Perdue’s top legislative lobbyist. Prior to this appointment in December 2008, Willis served as vice president of government relations for the University of North Carolina system. After earning a master's degree in public administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, Willis worked as a fiscal analyst for the state senate leadership and the powerful Appropriations Committee then chaired by Sen. Beverly Perdue. From 2003 to 2006, he served as a lobbyist for NC State University. Visit the Office of the Governor to stay current on news of North Carolina.