Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MPA program hones Dilip Gokhale’s acumen as an equal opportunities advocate

MPA program hones Dilip Gokhale’s acumen as an equal opportunities advocate

Dilip Gokhale graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

JULY 6, 2022 — The next steps of a college education were always front of mind for Dilip Gokhale’13, ’10 —even during this soldier’s tours at a remote military base in the Middle East.

While in the Army Reserves, with a deployment already under his belt, Gokhale enrolled as an undergraduate in the UTSA political science program in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. When he completed his undergraduate degree, he decided to stay in San Antonio and work for the city’s Center City Development and Operations Department.

While working there, still thinking about next steps, he began the process of applying to law schools.

The Army had other plans for Gokhale, though, and deployed him to the Middle East for a second time.

“When we were starting to come back, I was in Kuwait and I was I was thinking, what am I going to do? I quit my job. I didn’t pay any seat deposits for law schools that I applied to,” he said. “What am I going to do when I get back?”

“I knew the MPA program was the best thing I could have done. From the first public policy and analysis course to the land use class, it was just a good fit.”

He reached out to his former professor, Richard Gambitta, now retired director of the UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs and professor of political science, for advice.

“He suggested that if I want to further my skill set, why don’t I consider applying to the MPA (Master of Public Administration) program?” Gokhale said.

Applying for his master’s degree while stationed in a remote area of Kuwait—and while still conducting his day-to-day duties for the Army—was a challenge, but Gokhale got it done. And it was on the flight back to the United States that he received news of his admission into the MPA program, one of several degrees offered by the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy.

Gokhale began the program a mere week after returning from his overseas deployment.

“Coming back and immediately going to school was really helpful,” he said. “It was a time to slow down and learn. Other things outside of the program may have been chaotic, but the MPA program was the one thing in life where I could go to the library, read, prepare and talk about what we were studying.”

Francine Romero, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Public Administration, recalled Gokhale’s unusual entrance into the program.

“When he first started in our program, he wore his military uniform the first week of class, a business suit the second week, and by the third week arrived in a baseball cap and shorts, much like the other students,” she said. “That symbolized to me how our department, and UTSA in general, provides a welcoming space for returning veterans to transition to professional careers, strengthened by the values of their military training and experience.”

Gokhale recalled the enjoying the feeling of belonging during his first of class.

“Immediately, I knew the MPA program was the best thing I could have done,” he said. “From the first public policy and analysis course to the land use class, it was just a good fit.”

After graduating from the program, Gokhale took a job as an investigator with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

While he was thoroughly enjoying his job with the EEOC, he knew he still wanted to pursue law—and he did. In the spring of 2022, Gokhale graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

“At the EEOC we investigate discrimination claims, and I worked side by side with trial attorneys,” Gokhale said. “Because of the work that we do, I wanted to get a better understanding of law.”

Gokhale credits the MPA program with giving him a solid foundation for a challenging law school.

“I wasn’t behind the eight-ball going into law school because of the MPA program,” he said. “What other school can you get the kind of faculty you’ll find there? We had a former mayor of San Antonio and Mexico’s Internal Revenue Office Director teaching us real skills that are applicable.”

In addition to the high caliber faculty, Gokhale also credits every single class he took in the MPA program to benefitting his work with the EEOC or his law school studies.

“In the research methods course, we learned how to analyze disparate impact claims. Being able to take a whole bunch of different variables and see which have the greatest impact on the other—that was so invaluable,” Gokhale said. “My applied research course still applies to my daily work today. We conducted statistical analyses there, and in my job today I’m able to explain to directors and colleagues what reports we’re reading because the MPA professors taught me the math behind the analysis.”

Now that Gokhale is finished with law school, he can see more clearly than ever how the MPA program set him up for success.

“The program absolutely made me a better law student,” he said. “I got an A in civil procedure, because I took Dr. Romero’s administrative law class and she broke down Supreme Court cases in a way that was understandable, versus law school, where they hand you a book and they say, ‘Figure it out.’”

“Dilip was a wonderful student who demonstrated unusual insight into policy and the law, and I am not surprised at all the success he has achieved since earning his MPA degree,” Romero added.

Gokhale is based in Ohio now and continues his work at the EEOC. He remains one of the program’s biggest champions.

Learn more about the Master of Public Administration Program.
⇒ Explore the degree programs available in the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy.

“I am super grateful for the program because it set me up well academically and professionally,” he said. “If I didn’t get an MPA from UTSA, I don’t think I would have the opportunities and jobs that I have now.”

UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures, and social-economic transformation.  UTSA aspires to become a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence.

Amanda Cerreto

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.



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