Student Profile: Robert McLoughlin

April 12, 2013
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Robert McLoughlin

When asked what advice he would give to prospective government employees, Robert McLoughlin’s answer was very telling: “I think the first thing I would recommend is not to see yourself as an employee. If you choose a career in public service, and you can identify yourself as a public servant, and acknowledge all the expectations and responsibilities of that role, then you will have laid a solid foundation for your future endeavors.”

Rob McLoughlin is the true definition of a public servant. Rob served as a solider in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant in 2006 after 22 years of enlisted service. He served in the Army’s logistics field, where his experience ranged from laborer to multiple storage activities manager. Rob’s skill set focused on technology applications, and he ultimately became the subject matter expert on the organization’s centralized digital accountability system. As time progressed, Rob became involved in management operations and human resource actions. “Working with people, I often provided mentorship, planned and conducted the organization’s educational program,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the service, spending close to 13 years overseas in places such as Germany, Bosnia, Korea, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia”.

After serving in the military, Rob continued his work in the public sector. He was employed as a Special Education Teacher, Technology Coordinator, and School Data Specialist for the New York City Department of Education. In this role, Rob evaluated the school instructional programs and developed and delivered interdisciplinary computer instruction. However, Rob believes the most enjoyable aspect of this position was his ability to enrich students with disabilities lives through the use of assisted technology.

Currently, Rob is the Systems Administrator for the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy. His responsibility is to coordinate educational technology requirements for composition, literature, philosophy, and art history classes that service approximately 2,500 cadets.

As a fellow classmate of Rob’s, it is easy to see why he is so successful as a public servant. Rob continually facilitates interesting and productive class discussion, and his experiences that he shares in class always bring a new perspective. Rob is a people-person, which he describes as being a key asset in working in the public sector: “Public sector to me means people. That being said, the most valuable skills would be those involving people. For example; being able to work well in teams, resolve disputes, communication, establish collaborative relationships, the ability to build coalitions and communities.”

Choosing to pursue a degree in Public Administration was a natural decision for Rob. “Since my entire professional career has been in public service it was logical for me to pursue a professional degree in public service management,” he said. “I feel this MPA degree will benefit me by grounding my future service with a better understanding of governmental policies, organizational theories, human nature, and research methodologies. It will allow me to be able leverage my professional work experience through the lens of these studies thereby improving my ability to understand a situation, adapt, communicate and connect with the people involved.” As is the case with most John Jay MPA at West Point students, Rob finds the closeness of the students to be the most enjoyable part of the program. Not only is he developing professional skills in the program, but he is also developing friendships and professional contacts that will last well into the future. Rob says, “I find my experience in this program so far to be very rewarding. I love the selection of my lectures and professors. They seem to represent the diversity of the public sectors represented in the Hudson Valley.”

In the future, Rob hopes to continue government service, coach and teach young people.