Cleveland.com recently featured Levin College of Public Affairs and Education graduate, Meg Ryan Shockey, as she announced her mayoral campaign in Brooklyn. Shockey, who has been a member of the Brooklyn City Council for more than five years, currently serves as City Council President.
When asked why she decided to enter the race, Shockey shared, “The Brooklyn residents and staff have really taught me a lot while I’ve been on council. Also, I’ve been able to be an engaged leader through my council work since 2018. I believe the relationships I have built in Brooklyn and around the county will really help me in leading the city of Brooklyn for the future.”
Shockey graduated from Levin College in 2015 with a Master of Urban Planning, Design, and Development. In 2019, while serving as Councilperson, she organized community clean-ups designed to encourage Brooklyn residents to deepen their involvement with the city. Five years later, Brooklyn community clean-ups continue to grow, as do the number of volunteers who commit their valuable time to improve their community.
Shockey’s mayoral announcement coincided with the resignation of former Brooklyn Mayor Katie Gallagher, who left the position at the end of 2022 to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Community Innovation under Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. Both Gallagher and Ronayne are also Levin College alumni.
Council President Shockey recently spoke with Levin College to talk about her graduate school experience and how it helped her to prepare for a career in public service.
Levin College: Why did you choose your academic program or field?
As a senior at BGSU, I had the flexibility to come back to Cleveland often and shadowed then-Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook. Councilman Westbrook encouraged me to look into the urban planning program at CSU (Cleveland State University), and after attending an open house, I knew I wanted to apply for the MUPDD program. My first class was Intro to Planning with the late Professor Krumholz. While sitting in his class and listening to his lessons and lived-experience stories, I knew that the MUPD (Master of Urban Planning and Development) program was the best decision for my career path.
Levin College: How has your experience at CSU influenced or advanced your career path and/or your service to your community?
I have always had a passion for public service and have always thought that I would run for office...one day. My experience and earning my degree from CSU advanced my timeline for running for office. After graduating from CSU in 2015, I wanted to gain experience and use my degree without entering the urban planning field full time, as my husband was still working on his degree from CSU, and I already had a steady job that I liked. In 2017, I was awarded that opportunity when I was appointed to the Brooklyn Planning Commission. By spring 2017, I was a candidate for city council and working to get more engaged and active with my community. I know that my graduate work and degree played a vital role in my community activism and leadership role I hold and aspire to within Brooklyn.
Levin College: What was your favorite class at CSU?
I honestly enjoyed all of my classes at CSU, but I think my favorite course was Neighborhood Planning with Dr. Keating. We learned about tools and best practices to create grassroots change and reviewed successful projects where residents and community organizations came together to improve their neighborhoods. This class gave me the foundation to best serve my community as a Councilperson.