Grant Raupp

Alumni of Political Science

Q&A with Grant Raupp (MA 2007) Community Development Analyst, City of Garden Grove,CA

How would you describe your time at CSULB? It was time well spent. The atmosphere created by the faculty and graduate students in the Political Science Department was welcoming, encouraging, and challenging. All things that make a great program. 

What made you want to study political science? The topics addressed by political science have always drawn me to the subject. Whether it was looking at how citizens trust their government, U.S. political economy, or countries’ political development, political science’s scope allows someone to gain knowledge and understanding in many aspects of the human experience. 

Which course(s) or professor(s) had a big impact on you while you were completing your degree? The accumulation of my entire experience at the Political Science Department was vastly rewarding and thought provoking. Whether it was a course about American public opinion, the civil rights movement, or mass human rights violations, the faculty at CSULB was always able to push students to the next level of knowledge and understanding of the topic at hand. Moreover, the faculty always welcomed new ideas of ways to look at a political phenomenon. Their willingness to talk about issues at length and provide feedback and support made the masters experience unique and worthwhile. While every professor and class contributed to a better comprehension of the issues throughout Political Science, I will always be indebted to my graduate committee – Professor Haesly and Professor Dennis. They embody the breadth of approaches and topics a student can experience in the masters program. My knowledge and understanding of political phenomena – both American and comparative – and the world in general were greatly expanded due to the time I spent with them. 

What path did you take to get to your current job? During my time with the graduate program, I did a number of internships with a variety of groups, including internships with the mayor of a local jurisdiction and an affordable housing non-profit group. I also interned for the Planning Division of the City of Garden Grove. I discovered I enjoyed a number of aspects of planning, and when an analyst position opened for the Community Development Department, I applied. It was a great opportunity as it has allowed me to work in a variety of different fields, including: advance planning, affordable housing, first-time homebuyer programs, and homelessness prevention. 

What does a typical day at work look like for you? As the Community Development Analyst, I am able to work on a range of different projects, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. I have been able to research and participate in policy development, write grants, work on the Department’s $34 million budget, implement programs, and interact with a wide variety of people. The typical day can involve small lot subdivision development standards, writing a grant for a first-time homebuyers program, or attending a conference about how local government can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Tell me about a project that you are particularly proud of that you have worked on in your current job. I was fortunate to work on a series of projects that allowed us, as a local jurisdiction, to help alleviate some of the hardships emerging from the recent economic downturn. For instance, I tracked the recent increase in foreclosures within our city, and worked on an ordinance that helped to reduce blight caused by foreclosures. I was also the lead staff in the implementation of the City’s $1.1 million Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), which was funded by the Recovery Act of 2009. The program was able to give funding to four homelessness prevention programs, three rapid re-housing programs, and data collection. 

How do you think that your studies at CSULB helped prepare you for the success you’ve had in your professional life? The graduate program at CSULB fine-tuned my ability to quickly and thoroughly learn a subject matter, summarize it, analyze it, and write clearly on the topic. Furthermore, it gave me the ability to troubleshoot both quantitative and qualitative research. All these things allow me to take on whatever policy matter needs to be researched, grant that needs to be written, or program that needs to be implemented. 

What advice would you give a current student who is seeking to follow a similar career path? If a student is interested in a career at the local government level, use your time at CSULB as an opportunity to fine-tune both your quantitative and qualitative abilities. It will give you the capacity to take on the variety of topics you will have to address on a daily basis. More importantly, I suggest finding internships, volunteer positions, and other opportunities to gain exposure to whatever your interest is, whether it is in local government or not. By doing so, you can gain some real world experience, get your foot in the door at an organization, or just see if you like the industry.