Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Matthew Brown '08


MPP/MA '13

Learning both inside and outside the classroom

Heller education, internship lead to new skills for Matt Brown '08

When Matt Brown ’08 began looking at graduate schools, the Heller School was an obvious choice. Brown, a Brandeis graduate, was already quite familiar with the university, knew what he wanted, and enrolled in the joint program between Heller’s Master’s in Public Policy and the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership program. When he graduates in 2013, Brown will have earned both an MPP and an MA.

A Los Angeles native, Matt worked as a marketing and communications associate for the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), a national organization based in Boston. He also interned at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, planning events, designing surveys and assisting with program evaluations. 

Brown says the Heller community is passionate and knowledgeable, bringing their varied experiences and backgrounds with them.

Brown says he was surprised to learn that he has an affinity for research.

“I was unfamiliar with social science research before starting the MPP program," he says. "I expected the Research Methods course to be particularly challenging, but Professor Parish taught the course in such an approachable way, which helped me learn and understand the material.”

During his first year of coursework, Brown took Heller’s "Practicing Philanthropy" course. He says that he learned just how challenging grant making can be.

“Having to choose between a handful of great organizations and even saying no to ones just narrowly outside the focus area was more challenging than any assignment I had last year,”  says Brown.

He also took advantage of a summer internship at Natan in New York, which came with a stipend from the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, one of ten research centers and institutes at Heller. Brown says his internship taught him methods of evaluating philanthropy and the impact that giving circles can have from the donor and grantee perspectives, as well as the motivational reasons behind strategic philanthropy.

His dream job after graduating: being a program officer in a foundation that focuses on the Jewish community.

When Brown graduates from Heller he will have two graduate degrees. An additional benefit, he says, is a newly acquired network of committed and passionate colleagues developed while at the Heller School.

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