Sophia Rogers, MPA, JD

Expected graduation date

May 2019



High school

Madison West

Undergraduate education

Bachelor of science degrees in political science, economics, and mathematics, Barnard College of Columbia University, 2012

Professional/research interests

Energy and climate change, economic opportunity


La Follette Fellow scholarship; Distinction for the Senior Thesis, Barnard Economics and Political Science Departments, 2012; Junior and Senior Marshal, Barnard, 2012 and 2011; Editor-in-Chief of The Columbia Roosevelt Review, Columbia University Roosevelt Institute, 2010 – 2011

What brought you back to Madison for your MPA/JD degrees?

I’m a Madison native and have always wanted to be part of the Wisconsin Idea. The La Follette School is well-known and respected among local policymakers, so I knew I would learn the right skills and credibility.

Why a joint MPA and JD?

I’m highly motivated by social problems. As an undergraduate, I learned that public policy is determined as much by politics as technical constraints. I considered pursuing a PhD in applied economics, but the issues I’m passionate about will not be solved from an ivory tower. I can better help put policy into action with an MPA and JD.

Summer internship

I worked as a project assistant at the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education on campus. I created and distributed a survey for data management at Midwestern Departments of Transportation and built a clearinghouse of workforce development programs.

Which experiences and skills helped you get the internship?

I had previous experience researching workforce development programs and assisting researchers in general. My interest in infrastructure and economic opportunity made me a desirable employee. I heard about the internship through another La Follette student.

Second-year project assistantship

I will be working for Professor Greg Nemet on energy pricing research. I expect to be working in Stata to run regressions on pricing over time.

Volunteer activities

I’m a passionate member of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, UW-Madison’s graduate worker union. I’m also involved with Student Labor Action Coalition, a group of labor activists on campus.

Career goals

I hope to work as an advocate or policy adviser. Specifically, I would like to work in climate-change policy. I’m very interested in solar radiation management and its legality.

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?

I have a better understanding of the types of work I can do as a graduate. I’m also learning frameworks with which to analyze policy and budget.

Advice to prospective La Follette School students

If you have a specific policy interest, I strongly encourage you to choose a certificate program. I’m completing the Energy Analysis and Policy certificate with the Nelson Institute. I’ve learned so much about energy and climate change by taking these substantive courses. When I graduate, I’ll be able to apply to jobs as an energy policy analyst.

Anything else?

I love to cook, play music, and watch a ton of TV.

People would be surprised if they knew …

I once played the voice of a dog in youth orchestra.