Getting to Know Your SPA Professors: Todd Ely

Connecting with your professors can benefit you in the classroom and beyond.  Read this series to dive deeper into the minds of our professors and get answers to some fun and interesting questions.    We asked professors to reflect on their career, advice for students, non-academic hobbies and interests.

todd_ely_210Where does your passion/inspiration for your work come from? Is it why you entered your field?

Growing up in the Western U.S., I was fascinated by the water reclamation projects that reshaped the landscape and allowed cities to grow in the desert. This interest in infrastructure systems developed into a desire to better understand how we deliver and fund our public services.


What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were entering grad school?

I entered an MPA program since it matched my long-term career goal of public service. Unexpectedly, I ended up working in the private sector immediately following graduation. The MPA degree provides the skillset needed to easily move between the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, which is increasingly important in today’s world.

If you were not a professor, what would you be?

I would be working in local government, where the government connection to the public is the strongest.

Where have you lived outside of Colorado?

I was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but grew up in Phoenix before attending college in Atlanta. After graduation, I returned to Arizona for my first graduate school stint in Tucson. Work and family then took me to Phoenix, Bloomington, Indiana, Tucson, New York City, and finally Denver.

Categories: Academics, Features

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