Margaret Hacker, who goes by Greta, is a senior at UCA majoring in Public Administration with a double minor in Honors Disciplinary Studies and Professional Writing.
After graduating in May 2020, Hacker plans on pursuing a career in counseling. She is currently studying for the GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination. She then plans to go into the mental health counseling program at UCA.
Originally, Hacker began college as a political science major, but decided to focus on public administration because it focused on the day-in and day-out of studying people and organizations that perform government work.
“It’s kind of a twist from my undergrad, because originally I was planning to go into public service, like work in state or local government,” Hacker said. “I started figuring out that if I could have done it all over again, I would have become a psychology major.”
Hacker’s interest in mental and emotional health and how the brain works is part of why she got into public administration in the first place.
In the future, Hacker believes that she would rather work with people one-on-one than manage a large organization, but she said that things can always change.
“The motivation is the same for both degrees, and I do eventually want to go into the policy side of mental health because there’s a lot there,” Hacker said.
The same things that Hacker wanted to address in public service she can still address through a career in mental health.
Hacker has been the president of Bears At the Ballot, UCA’s branch of Vote Everywhere since 2019. She is also the co-captain of the UCA Debate Team, and is a part of the Honors College as well as the Food Recovery Network.
Although she holds many leadership positions, Hacker sometimes struggles with being in positions of authority, even if it is not always apparent.
“I think sometimes people don’t get that perception of me because I am in leadership positions a lot,” Hacker said. “I could be seen as a leadership person but really I like working with people one-on-one and function better in small groups.”
Her father, a constitutional law professor, was an major inspiration for her to pursue public administration.
“I grew up learning about politics and learning about political theory and by the time I was 12 or 13, I was trying to memorize all of the amendments,” Hacker said.
Working in the children’s department at her local library in high school is how Hacker connected public administration with her desire to serve people.
“There, I saw a lot of people who were utilizing public services because they had nowhere else to go and they had no more resources,” Hacker said.
Many people who were homeless or had limited access to the internet would utilize the library, which inspired Hacker to pursue a career of helping people.
Hacker has played the piano since she was three-years-old, which she said is one of the most consistent things she has done outside of school.
Currently, Hacker works in UCA’s Creative Writing Center as a writing tutor and lives on-campus with her new pet Betta fish, Eunice.