Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, May 23, 2019

1st Accelerated Student Gathering a success

Students in the Accelerated Program chat outside the La Follette School on May 6, 2019. Students in the Accelerated Program chat outside the La Follette School on May 6, 2019.

Graduating and continuing students in the La Follette School’s Accelerated Program gathered Monday, May 6 to welcome incoming students and share advice and wisdom for a successful transition into the master’s degree program. Ben McBride, Jonny Vannucci, and Sally Rohrer helped plan this first-time event.

“Given its success, an end-of-spring Accelerated Student Gathering certainly will be repeated,” said Mo O’Connor, the La Follette School’s admissions & advising coordinator.

Accelerated La Follette School students are a select group of scholars admitted to a competitive program. They begin their La Follette School coursework while simultaneously completing coursework for their undergraduate degree.

The La Follette School is very proud of these students and their many accomplishments, O’Connor said. “Driven, achievement-oriented, and accomplished, it is quite common that accelerated students step up in ways that make them stand out within their broader cohort,” she said.

Examples of how graduating and continuing students have done this include:

  • being recommended for and selected to tutor PA 818, a required core course
  • serving as senior class president of the undergraduate student body and speaking at UW–Madison’s Commencement
  • being selected for competitive internships at:
    • the Congressional Budget Office
    • the Office of Management and Budget
    • the Madison Metropolitan School District Research and Program Evaluation Office
    • the California Department of Transportation
    • the City of Madison
    • the U.S. Department of State
    • the United Nations
  • embarking on additional dual degrees or graduate certificates during their compressed academic experience
  • receiving a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) award to study Portuguese and Danish
  • serving as president of the Verona Area School Board
  • bringing veteran students’ needs forward as UW President of the Student Veterans of America
  • being selected as the first UW-Madison Rosenthal Fellow for the Department of Defense
  • being selected as a Presidential Management Fellow
  • working in Gov. Tony Evers' administration

Incoming accelerated students have exceptional leadership, service, and other experiences, so expectations for them are as high as those for the peers they met at the Accelerated Student Gathering, O’Connor said.

Incoming students have held leadership roles with Associated Students of Madison and on shared governance or student advisor committees, volunteered with Students Today Leaders Forever, secured a UW Center for the Humanities Grant to teach an afterschool class about female empowerment for a local school district, promoted diversity and campus resources at the Center for Cultural Enrichment, and served in the military.

“The La Follette School is excited about their promise,” O’Connor said, adding that the same traits that drew them to the La Follette School allow them to develop into respected policy experts and leaders in serving the public. “If the past has shown us anything about accelerated La Follette School alumni, it is that we as a School are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”