Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

52 grad students welcomed at Hill Fest, Orientation

Orientation 2019 Orientation 2019

More than 150 people celebrated the start of another academic year at the La Follette School’s annual Hill Fest picnic September 3. Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee welcomed everyone, including 52 incoming graduate students.

Wes Sparkman (MPA ’00) also shared some thoughts on his La Follette School experience, career, and community involvement. Since May 2016, he has served as director of Dane County’s Tamara Grigsby Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

In addition, several students in the School’s new Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy participated along with new staff members Bonnie MacRitchie and Megan Stritchko (MPA ’09) and new faculty member Lauren Schmitz.

On August 29, the 2019 cohort of graduate students formally joined the School during Orientation at the Pyle Center. Associate Director Steve Kulig (MPA ’14) provided a brief overview of the master’s degree program, with assistance from Student Services staff Mo O’Connor and David Wright-Racette.

Four continuing students and one recent alumna also shared information and answered students’ questions about the degrees and certificates they are pursuing with their public affairs degrees.

Another panel – with faculty members Greg Nemet, Lauren Schmitz, and Yang Wang – then discussed their research and answered questions, followed by a welcome from Yackee and lunch with faculty, staff, and continuing students. The La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) also led the 2019 cohort in a group activity before a walking tour of central campus.

With 52 students, the La Follette School’s 2019 cohort includes a teacher, several students who served in AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, the chair of the Associated Students of Madison, a veteran, an urban planner, and a gardener at a zoo.

The 37 master of public affairs (MPA) students and 15 master of international public affairs (MIPA) students include residents of 10 states and eight other countries (Bangladesh, Chile, China, Finland, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and South Korea).