Carolyn Hill (MA ’96)

Undergraduate degrees

Bachelor’s degree in political science and Russian area studies, University of Missouri-Columbia


Smithville, Missouri

La Follette School honors

La Follette Fellow and Haveman Award

Post-La Follette education

PhD in public policy, Harris School, University of Chicago, 2001



Job title

Senior Fellow

Previous employment

Until 2014, I was an associate professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University

Primary job responsibilities

How do you use what you learned at La Follette on the job?

Clear, systematic thinking and analysis are always helpful. I continue to draw from a number of classes – Karen Holden’s program evaluation, Maria Cancian’s econometrics, Karl Scholz’s microeconomics, Bob Haveman’s benefit/cost, Don Kettl’s and Karl Kronebusch’s public management courses, Steve [I forgot his last name!] public policy analysis

Which experiences and skills in particular helped you get your job?

Skills and experience in both quantitative methods and public management (also PhD and teaching experience)

What experiences shaped your decision to pursue a master’s degree in public affairs?

I was a staff assistant at the Brookings Institution after I graduated from undergrad and met people who had public policy degrees. I didn’t know about them before, and it seemed like something I would be interested in.

Why the La Follette School?

I visited campus, and it felt like a great fit. My final choice for a master’s was between Sanford/Duke and La Follette/Wisconsin. I’m a believer that no program is the best fit for everyone, and that many schools can be a good fit.

Project assistantship, internship

I was a project assistant for Karl Scholz, studying the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). We had a couple of publications (below). Working with Professor Scholz was a great experience and was the reason why I went on to get a PhD. I also was an intern at the U.S. Government Accountability Office during summer 1995, conducting work on the Government Performance and Results Act. Chris Mihm was my supervisor there, and I still see him at conferences.

Hill, Carolyn J., V. Joseph Hotz, and John Karl Scholz. 1998. “Evaluating Work-Related Cash Benefit Programs: The Earned Income Tax Credit.” In Lois-ellin Datta and Patrick G. Grasso (eds.), Evaluating Tax Expenditures: Tools and Techniques for Assessing Outcomes, in the New Directions for Evaluation Series, no. 79 (Fall) (Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA): 25-41.

Hill, Carolyn J., V. Joseph Hotz, Charles H. Mullin, and John Karl Scholz. 1999. “EITC Eligibility, Participation, and Compliance Rates for AFDC Households: Evidence from the California Caseload.” Report prepared for the State of California. May.

Most rewarding La Follette School experience

I loved the community of friends/colleagues (we had some great games of euchre over lunch in the Union and had really helpful study groups), the classes with lots of practical knowledge, and my project assistantship with Karl Scholz. A highlight was seeing Wilco at the Club de Wash in 1995! And having access to fresh cheese curds and New Glarus beer for two straight years.

Most challenging La Follette School experience


Why would you recommend the La Follette School to a prospective student?

Small classes, high-quality education, connections and opportunities with state government, great place to live for two years

Volunteer activities

I help organize events for my sons’ Cub Scout dens and am treasurer for the Cub Scout Pack

Post-La Follette awards

I earned my PhD from the Harris School in 2001, was tenured at Georgetown University in 2008, and co-authored three books:
Hill, Carolyn J. and Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. 2016. Public Management: Thinking and Acting in Three Dimensions, 2nd Edition (Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press).
Hill, Carolyn J., Harry J. Holzer, and Henry Chen. 2009. Against the Tide: Household Structure, Opportunities, and Outcomes among White and Minority Youth (Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research).
Lynn, Laurence E. Jr., Carolyn J. Heinrich, and Carolyn J. Hill. 2001. Improving Governance: A New Logic for Empirical Research (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press)

Two “best article” awards from journals:
Beryl Radin Award for best article in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (Volume 16), 2007
Vernon Prize for best article in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (Volume 22) (co-authors: Howard S. Bloom and James Riccio), 2003
Teaching awards
Leslie Whittington Teaching Award, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, 2003 & 2005
Teaching Assistant of the Year: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, 1998-1999

Influential faculty, peers

Karl Scholz was instrumental in opening up the possibility of me of getting a PhD and thinking about the best kind of program given my interests. I loved my coursework and learning at La Follette. My La Follette classmate Kate Maehr has been a friend, colleague, and confidante over the years. Former La Follette Professor Carolyn Heinrich is also a close friend; we met when I was at the Harris School (we have the same middle name, are the same age, and she is the godmother for my older son).

Anything else?

I live in the Washington, D.C., area with my husband, Andreas Lehnert, and our two sons – Felix (10 years old) and Max (8 years old).

People would be surprised to know that I …

love cheese curds. Actually, cheese in general.