Meet Our Students

Our program is proud to share the stories of students who have achieved success in their chosen career paths, and this page shall feature some of their stories.


Malak KhaderMalak Khader

Malak is a graduate student from Huntington, pursuing her MPA with a concentration in Urban Governance. She is currently a board member for the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union, a graduate assistant for Drinko Library, and and active member of her religious community. Previously, she has served as a journalism intern with the West Virginia Legislature.

Malak has been an advocate for Muslim Americans her entire life and hopes that her involvement in government work will help other Muslim Americans fight and stand up for their given rights. Her main goal has always been to educate and inform on a political platform, and our MPA program is helping her better develop the skill sets necessary to do so.


Rudy Watson

Rudy Watson

Rudy is a graduate student pursuing his MPA and specializing in Nonprofit Management. He is from Montgomery, West Virginia. Rudy received his BA degree in Political Science and an MA degree in Communication Studies from Marshall University in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Before returning to Marshall, he received an active duty commission where he served honorably as a United States Army officer. Rudy served as executive officer, second in command, accountable to 250 soldiers at the United States Army Armor Centers Headquarters and Headquarters Company. He now resides and work in Washington, DC as a Management Analyst with the Department of Treasury, Office of Chief Counsel bureau to the Internal Revenue Service.

Rudy is interested in global offshore wealth and tax havens research.


Ludwig R. “Louis” Balbuena

I chose the MPA program at Marshall University for several reasons. I wanted to attend an MPA program after I finished my undergraduate, but shortly after graduating I received a job offer and decided to put pursuing my master’s degree on hold. A few years later I had heard that Marshall was starting a MPA program. I looked in to it and decided it would be a perfect fit for me. The MPA program became attractive to me during my first year of working in the “real world”. I began to take note of things happening in my state and decided I would like to be part of change that happens here to make West Virginia a greater state.

The MPA has greatly affected my professional life. I have grown to become a director in a Non-Profit at a company called First Choice Services that provides treatment services for the population of West Virginia. We also offer grant writing for organizations and help provide data collection and evaluation. It has helped me to become a key asset in my company by providing critical thinking skills as well as leadership skills to lead my staff into a progressive belief of every West Virginian getting the treatment they deserve.


Nigel Wallace

​I received my undergrad in Business Management and Marketing. During my undergrad I quit my day job as a warehouse operator to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams; since then I have started two businesses, began public speaking, and I am currently authoring two books. I chose the MPA Program because I feel as if it can grant me the opportunity to learn vital skills that I will need when I speak publicly, address hot button issues, and help build a universal perspective from peers that do not necessarily have the same ideals that I possess.

​As far as meeting my professional goals, the graduate assistantship that I received has provided networking opportunities that have connected me with people and programs that will aid in the development of my potential career – either becoming a politician or serial entrepreneur. The choice I made in coming to Marshall has truly changed life as I knew it, and allowed me the opportunity to grow, and find not only myself, but my calling in life. I am indebted to this institution whole-heartedly, as it has done so much for me.


Mathew Gallagher

I chose the Marshall MPA program due to the flexibility Marshall allows its students and the ability to graduate within a reasonably soon, despite fulltime employment. Marshall was also a prime choice due to the high regard for Marshall’s MPA program by my colleagues and peers at the Capitol. The MPA program has been timely and important in my success with both the West Virginia Legislature and Secretary of State.

I am currently the executive director of the One-Stop Business Development Project at the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.