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Jeffrey Iles

Jeffrey Iles

MPA Student, School of Public Affairs

School of Sustainability
Arizona State University
PO Box 875502
Tempe, AZ 85287-5502


  • MPA Student, School of Public Affairs


The philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” My direction in life was set on a new course over a decade ago when I enlisted in the U.S. Army immediately following the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. For the next ten years, I deployed as a Forward Observer in humanitarian, peacekeeping, and combat roles both domestically and internationally. My deployments were truly the best and the worst of times and I attribute my pursuit of higher education to the lessons I learned while serving in the military.

My time in the Army compelled me to focus on a field of study that could contextualize what I had experienced. I chose to study political science in order to better understand government policies that shape power dynamics in all relationships. As I continued my education, I witnessed time and again that there is a symbiotic relationship between a nation’s politics and its health. This realization motivated me to add a second major in global health to my studies. The synthesis of these two disciplines and my professional background highlighted for me the interface problems that societies experience with each other and with nature.

These interface issues prompted me to interpret sustainability as a means of implementing practices from the local community into the global forefront that seek to balance the existence between nature and culture and between disparate parts of humanity. I believe the key to this process lies with innovations in renewable resources and with the advancement of an ideology that promotes equity of power among ourselves and the environment. Accordingly, my long-term career goal is to work in the public sector to develop dynamic relationships with the private sector in order to tie in federal environmental policy with corporate strategy to create jobs and reduce environmental impacts while still working towards true energy independence and just and sustainable business practices.

I am eager to take the next step on my journey. I want to create lasting solutions to these interface problems by drawing upon my professional background and educational foundation. Because nature is a human construct insomuch as it is a perception, it is intrinsically human and therefore any successful blueprint for transitioning from today’s world to one with a just and sustainable future must come from the social sciences. My unique path in life has provided me with a strong sense of dedication and an intense desire to look at possibilities rather than just probabilities. These traits make me a strong candidate for this program and provide me with the tools necessary for success.

In order to fulfill my educational and career goals, I am pursuing a Master's of Public Administration concurrent with a Master's of Sustainable Solutions. While a single degree in Sustainable Solutions with an emphasis in Public Administration may grant me the ability to achieve these goals, that degree program by itself lacks the depth that a fusion of intellectual disciplines would provide. As one who double majored as an undergraduate, I understand the value of nesting concepts within other disciplines and the utility of generating ideas through their marriage.

It is with interdisciplinary collaboration in mind that I consider project ideas. I am particularly interested in a trans-disciplinary project that maps out how the human constructs of ideology, worldview, and sense of place can be used as a means to prompt change. Correspondingly, I want to understand how large societies rooted in unsustainable and environmentally harmful practices can be influenced to accept a transition to policy that advocates just and sustainable resource management. I will draw from my knowledge of political ecology, global health, public policy, and sustainable solutions and seek to join forces with people in other fields to work towards a common goal.

Research Assistant Experience

Research Assistant for Doctoral Candidate Fall 2014- Present School of Human Evolution and Social Change – Arizona State University

  • Responsible for aiding doctoral candidate in quantitative analysis of survey data using MANOVA, multiple regression, and structural equation modeling in SPSS
  • Responsible for compiling data in excel spreadsheets and generating clearly formatted data sets to streamline results
  • Assists with administrative duties required to research and publish a doctoral thesis

Science-Practice Integration Intern with the City of Goodyear Spring 2015, Decision Center for Desert Cities and the School of Sustainability – Arizona State University

  • Researched water sector use elasticity in response to water rate increase and evaluated the impact of city revenue
  • Used mathematical analysis to track water rate increases to help city water resource manager evaluate changes in use
  • Independently developed and conducted original research project based on statistical analysis and presented findings at ASU’s sustainability symposium

Spoken Languages:
Italian (intermediate)


  • BA, Political Science, Arizona State University, 2015
  • BA, Global Health, Arizona State University, 2015
  • MSUS, Sustainability Solutions, Arizona State University, 2017