ASU, Berkeley, USC, Washington are top public affairs schools in Pac-12

March 16, 2012

Editor's Note: Arizona State University baseball will take on the University of California, Berkeley, in three games March 23 - 25 in Tempe. Women’s softball will play Arizona March 23-25 in Tempe, and Berkeley in three games May 10-12 in Berkeley, Calif. Read more about ASU's collaborations with Pac-12 schools.

The graduate program in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University is fourth among Pac-12 schools to be ranked in the top 25 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The rankings were released March 13 in the magazine’s “2013 Best Graduate Schools.” Download Full Image

ASU’s master’s program in public affairs ranked 16th overall, up from No. 25 the last time the program was ranked by U.S. News. Other Pac-12 schools that made the top 25 are the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California, tied for 6th; the University of Washington, 9th; and the University of California at Los Angeles, 23rd.

The School of Public Affairs is in the ASU College of Public Programs.

The rankings, based on surveys conducted in fall 2011, are based on responses of deans, directors and department chairs representing 266 master's of public affairs and administration programs, two per school. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master's programs.

Among specialty public affairs programs, ASU’s city management and urban policy program ranks second; its environmental policy and management ranks 10th; its nonprofit management program ranks 15th; its public finance and budgeting program ranks 16th; and its public management administration program ranks 19th.

The specialty rankings are based on ratings by educators at peer schools. Public affairs school deans and other academics were asked to nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in each specialty.

Earning an M.P.A. can lead to a career in public service, both domestically and abroad.

Sun Devil startup in final round of Inc. Magazine contest

March 16, 2012

Editor's Note: The Sun Devil startup Arizona Pro DJs has since changed its name to Endless Entertainment.

“I love playing music for others and entertaining people,” said Will Curran, who proudly wears a neon green T-shirt with his company name, Arizona Pro DJs, across the front. (The company's name has since been changed to Endless Entertainment.) Download Full Image

Now a senior at Arizona State University, Curran first began the special events business during his freshman year of high school after learning to spin via a “DJ in a Box Kit.” From there, Curran went from playing for his friends in his bedroom to DJing at local birthday parties.

“Looking back I don’t know how I made it work with that kit,” Curran said. “I was really hesitant to begin DJing. Because I was known for my electronic music, I didn’t know any of the top 40 hits.”

To counteract this problem, Curran had a friend tag along and instruct him on which records to play. Eventually, he started studying the mainstream scene and could stand on his own. Curran also used the money he earned to buy better gear for his productions.

It was at this point that he realized his passion for music was becoming his profession. Curran knew that in order to be taken seriously he would need three essential items: a website, business cards, and, of course, a company name. He decided on Arizona Pro DJs because it was simple and straight to the point.

Curran quickly became the go-to DJ for Catholic high schools and middle schools in downtown Phoenix. With his business gaining speed, he began hiring fellow DJs, MCs, a production crew, a management team and sales team to help manage the business.

“We are now a full-scale event business focusing on teen events. We offer entertainment, production and even the planning of parties,” Curran said. “My goal is always to bring a club atmosphere to dances, complete with lights, lasers, floor setups, a DJ booth, etc.”

His hard work has not gone unnoticed either. The Arizona Republic named Curran among the top 35 entrepreneurs under 35, and, in 2011, the Social Media Examiner ranked Arizona Pro DJs in the top five for small business Facebook pages in the world.

Recently, the company made the finals for Inc. Magazine’s “America’s Coolest College Start-Ups” contest. The contest runs until March 30, wherein the company with the most votes from the public will be named the winner, and receive a trip to the Inc Magazine leadership summit in Miami, Fla.

For his fellow entrepreneurs just starting out, Curran is never speechless for words of advice.

“If you have an idea, just do it. Even if someone has a similar business idea, you will win by doing it bigger and better then them,” Curran said. “It’s also really important to surround yourself the best people and never give up.”