SPEA alumna Tasha Phelps spent more than two decades building her information technology company from the ground up. A business degree helped lay the foundation for Phelco Technologies but as its focus shifted from the private sector to contracts with law enforcement and state government agencies, Phelps knew her business degree alone would not be enough.
“I wanted to be able to communicate better and at a different level with my clients,” she recalls.
Phelps needed—and wanted—to learn more about this new breed of clientele and how her company could help them assess the impact of their IT systems on public safety.
After a conversation with SPEA Executive Associate Dean Tom Stucky, Phelps enrolled in SPEA’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management graduate certificate program. Even though she earned that certificate, she wasn’t finished learning.
“It was the carrot in front of me,” she recalls. “Earning my master’s would … allow me to have more informed conversations with the clients I serve.”
She wanted to learn how criminal justice and public safety organizations operated, and how citizens can impact those agencies. So Phelps continued on, earning her Criminal Justice and Public Safety master’s degree from SPEA in 2016.
“The education at SPEA is what gave me the insight into how public safety professionals are trained to think and behave,” Phelps says. “I can’t put into words how critical that level of information is to someone in this industry.”