Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, September 8, 2016

Adam Johnson (MPA '16)

Adam Johnson (MPA '16)

Undergraduate degree
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies, UW-Madison, May 2012

Job title
Project Manager

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health - Carbone Cancer Center

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences contributed to meeting your career goals?
So far I’ve used skills from public personnel management, cost-benefit analysis, and public management the most. My job focuses on interpersonal relationships with a smaller data analysis component so the quantitative skills are not as necessary. Communicating complex topics simply to both expert and non-expert audiences is crucial.

Most challenging experience at the La Follette School
Deciding which electives to pick was always a challenge. There are so many interesting courses in the La Follette School and elsewhere in the UW that picking just a few was difficult.

Most rewarding experience at the La Follette School
Working with real world clients in the Capstone and Program Evaluation courses was a highlight of the program for me. Often in our courses, we deal with ideal scenarios: we have an ideal data set, the goals and milestones are clear, etc. However, real world clients do not have ideal scenarios, or sometimes even a clear idea of how to measure success or completion, and working with this group is refreshing. These projects, and the organizational challenges of meeting with different stakeholders and delivering a rigorous, but ultimately useful, product is both practical and challenging which I found to be very rewarding.

Why would you recommend the La Follette School to a prospective student?
World-class faculty, an intimate cohort, and a broad university to cater to practically any policy interest. Develop a PhD program so I can come back.

Why an MPA?
As an undergraduate, I knew I wanted to be involved in the political process but did not want to just go work my way up the Hill. After doing project management work for a few years, I determined that my own particular skillset was more suited to political management focused on policy.

Why the La Follette School?
All the above. Primarily, though, it was a reputation for excellence, recommendations from alumni who were personal friends, and my own proximity having lived in the Madison area since 2008.

Anything else?
As an undergrad, I was vice-chair of Associated Students of Madison (ASM), UW-Madison’s student government organization. While at La Follette, I was on the staff of the Badger Herald, one of UW-Madison’s student newspapers. I’m also an amateur Tolkien scholar.