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Most people consider pursuing a dual master’s program during a global pandemic enough of a challenge. Cayla Matsumoto also had a baby during her last semester at Duke.

“It was planned,” she said. “I thought that arranging maternity leave during graduate school would be more certain than in the workforce.”

Her husband, Colin Matsumoto, an artist who works with art installations in the area, also had a more flexible schedule for now. Their daughter, Yuna, was born this March.

Matsumoto chose the MBA/MPP program to gain the skills she needs to chart her career path in community wealth development.

“The two degrees are bridging the public and the private sectors. The business degree gives me an understanding of how the private sector operates, but my heart belongs to public policy,” she said. “Community wealth development is not well defined and used often as an outcome for different projects. The point of community wealth is to develop systems that promote resiliency and localization of the community economy rather than extraction of money from a community."

For her master’s project, Matsumoto developed a definition and framework for thinking about the concept, one that focused on outcomes and using a racial equity lens, especially land policies. Owning land and real estate is a major type of wealth-building for individuals.

“Different racial groups throughout history have been fundamentally locked out of wealth and wealth-building assets. With nothing to leverage, it’s difficult for these populations to buy houses, start businesses and stabilize economically.”

Cayla smiling, with other smiling classmates
Cayla Matsumoto, bottom right, with fellow MPP classmates

Money That Stays

“I’ve really loved my time at Sanford,” Matsumoto said. She was a teaching assistant for Joel Fleishman. “It allowed me to explore a different sector that relates to what I am interested in."

Philanthropy has a large impact in building development and wealth, but still might not be the best solution for certain projects in the community.

“When the grants leave, who loses?” she said. “I want to find how to make money that stays.”

Matsumoto served her internship with Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that works on affordable housing through investment and community development. She hopes to take a position there after graduation and her maternity leave ends, but her goal is to work on these issues at the Federal Reserve.

“I think my strengths will be best used at the higher level of policy,” she said, and effect change through cross communication and education across agencies and programs

Cayla, baby and two classmates
Cayla Matsumoto, Maggie Buchanan, and Seve Gaskin are all 2022 MPP/MBA (Duke Fuqua School of Business) students graduating this year.

About Our Graduates

Students graduate Friday May 6 from the Sanford School with undergraduate, Master of Public Policy, Master of International Development Policy,  international Master of Environmental Policy and PhD degrees.  

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