Student Spotlight: Scott Rykala MPP '23

Scott Rykala

This week, we chatted with first-year MPP student Scott Rykala about his Batten experience. Scott is a first-generation college student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a proud Steelers fan. Coming straight from undergrad into Batten's MPP program, Scott brings with him valuable internship experience on Capitol Hill and a passion for learning. Keep reading to learn a bit more about Scott's journey to Batten and his advice for prospective students! 


What was your major/minor in undergrad?

I majored in finance, with a minor in political science, at Waynesburg University. 


What is the most surprising thing about Batten?

I was most surprised with how many resources are at Batten. Coming into the program, I knew the immense opportunities and resources I would have. But the professionals in those positions, such as career services, work tirelessly and are truly here for us. Batten is a family, and I learned that very, very quickly.


What is your favorite part of Batten?

My favorite part of Batten is the collaborative nature of the curriculum. The classroom dynamic is unique in that many professors have their students and the teaching team at the same level where learning is more of a conversation, and the power dynamic is not imbalanced.


Describe a day in your life at Batten: 

Wake up is at 7:15 every morning. I'll reread the assigned readings for the day, then I will map my day and head to class. At least this semester, I have the first and last class of the day every day, so the time in between is usually spent on schoolwork or whatever tasks the day brings. It leaves enough room to where I have a comfortable school work/life balance.


Do you have any advice for potential students? 

Ask questions and make connections. One of the biggest reasons why I came to Batten was because I knew that my needs and questions were a priority to the faculty and staff. The admissions team responded to all of my questions and addressed my concerns in a timely manner, and I knew that the connection was created, they genuinely wanted to get to know me.