Posted on October 16, 2019 by Michelle Skidmore

I grew up in Staten Island, New York and had dreams of becoming an astronaut. I had big dreams of being a pilot or a crew member of spacecraft, but then I watched the movie Apollo 13 and saw the scene where Tom Hanks had a dream that he disconnected from the command module and falls into space. After that, I decided to pursue something else.

I moved to San Antonio full time in 2008, and decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at UTSA because of my passion for community development. I am thankful to my mentor Amy Buckner, former UTSA BPA adjunct professor, for giving me an opportunity to learn about community development through an internship she offered me in 2014. I think more people in our community should think about how much we rely on local government to better our lives and the importance of conserving water and energy.

After I graduated with my BPA, I decided to pursue my graduate education by attaining the Master of Public Administration. The undergraduate program helped me understand city management and urban development. The graduate program helped me understand policy and theory in a way I had never thought about in local government. Currently, I work as a Community Relations Advocate at CPS Energy. Branden Dross M.P.A. with (Terea Menedez-Meyers and Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (right) I work directly with City Council Districts 1, 2, and 10, and we communicate about escalated issues that come into their offices. These issues can vary from customers with high bills who need help with utility assistance, issues with vegetation, easements, etc. My team and I also create partnerships with agencies in the area to help identify customers in need. This job is the perfect “jack of all trades” role, and I am an internal and external facilitator.

–Branden Dross ’16, M.P.A. ’18

— Michelle Skidmore