Part II: Back to School with Rhyan Van Horn, University of Washington MPA Evans School

Posted on February 20, 2013

TriMet Senior Accountant of Treasury and Cash Management Rhyan Van Horn is back in school as a first year student in the executive MPA program at the University of Washington. Today we catch up with Rhyan to discuss topics such as do you still have to waste a bunch of money buying books that you’ll only use once or twice and her crazy Super Bowl party.

What courses are you currently taking?

I’m finishing up Executive Economics right now. Strategic Financial Management – Part I of II starts up later this month.

Longest paper that you have written.

I had a group project due at 11:30pm on Super Bowl Sunday. It was a 10-12 page paper, plus attachments and appendices. My group turned in almost 20 pages worth of work. Solo papers have been much shorter though. Less than 5 pages on average.

Most relevant topic that you have studied.

The Econ course I’m finishing up is quite applicable. Essentially we’re taking the principals of economics and applying them to the policy making environment. I think this is an incredibly important perspective for policy makers to have.

In a few years, when you look back at returning to school, what songs will be on the soundtrack?


  • Blind Pilot – Three Rounds and a Sound and We are the Tide.
  • The new Mumford and Sons album Babel.
  • Macklemore – Thrift Shop & One Love.

Three biggest adjustments in returning to school.

  • I’ve learned to let go of my old routines.
  • Grocery shopping and housework happens based on need.
  • I’ve accepted the truth that cereal can be eaten for any meal.

One of the best parts of being in school is spring break, do you get to reap the benefits or will it be another day in the workplace.

I wish! Just another day in the office.

You may have heard ELGL is planning its 1st annual conference at the Kennedy School on October 4. Give our conference planning committee three suggestions for topics and/or speakers.

  • The Pros and Cons of Public-Private Partnerships
  • The Evolution of E-Payments
  • I think it would be interesting to hear Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia co-creator/co-star (one of her many projects) & Portland resident) discuss her observations of Oregon local government and the role it plays in shaping our communities.

Compare buying books now to your undergraduate experience, is it cheaper and easier now that the ol’ internet around. Or is it still the same process of going to the actual bookstore and shelling out a large sum of money?

In my program, I rarely buy books. Most of the reading is case studies and articles compiled in binders. The books I have purchased have been under $20.  All of them were purchased online. I purchased one ebook that I read on my tablet and an another iBook that I listened to in the car. Very convenient.

When we talked with you this fall you were pinning your hopes on UDub basketball to erase the ugly outcomes of recent U of O vs. UDub football games. How is that working out?


At least the basketball games are competitive. If we could keep skilled players on the team for the full four years, it would be a lot easier to beat Nike, I mean Oregon. And I’m not giving up yet. The Huskies have come through when it really matters in the past. I guess I’ll just pin my hopes on the Pac-12 tournament…

Talk about the specializations in the EMPA program – are students interested in one particular area such as local government or nonprofits.

It’s a pretty even mix, although I think it leans towards more nonprofits.

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