Bachelor’s degree in journalism, minor in political science, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, fall 2016
Expected graduation date
Why an MPA?
I am a full-time legislative staffer. I help draft legislation, negotiate the passage of said bill, and set the tone of our response to crises. In addition, I advise my boss on serious and consequential votes, help constituents navigate state government, and act as the intern coordinator for our entire caucus. While I know how to do my job well, I felt I did not have the background I needed to do it to the best of my capabilities. That is why I looked to further my education.
Why the La Follette School?
The fact that it was local, close to work as well as nationally/globally ranked made it a clear choice.
My goal is to primarily be the best legislative staffer I can be in order to help create the best state government I can and long-term, to stay in the public sphere wherever I am most needed/can make the most impact.
How have your La Follette School set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
After every single course I have taken through the La Follette School thus far, I have been able to apply my new knowledge directly to my daily work. I have already improved as a legislative staffer immensely, and it is all thanks to graduate school at the La Follette School of Public Affairs.
I work for Assistant Minority Leader Dianne Hesselbein while attending La Follette part time. I cannot say it is easy, but I can absolutely say it is worth it. It is also helpful that my boss is extremely flexible and understanding.
What courses have you taken in which you’ve done work for real clients?
While I have not yet taken any courses that have had real clients, I have the unique opportunity of applying all of my course activities to my day job in which I have clients every day (whether my boss or constituents). All that I have learned from my classes in graduate school have directly applied to my daily work.
Advice for prospective La Follette School students
There is a lot of pressure in society and especially in graduate school—pressure to be the smartest, to know the answer to every question, to be at every lecture and discussion, to be at every group meeting, to know and love everyone in your cohort, to finally meet your people, to excel on every exam, to ace every paper, to read all of the assigned homework … it just is not possible. Working full time means you cannot possibly try to be just like every full time student. It just doesn’t add up, there is not enough time in a day. My greatest advice to someone working full time while attending La Follette is to release the pressure to prove, because the pressure is only coming from your own head. Everyone here is rooting for you, so give yourself a break. Just learn as much as you can and have fun. The more fun I have, the more I exceed my own expectations.
Most challenging La Follette School experience
Working full time while attending La Follette has been my most challenging experience, but it also has been very rewarding.
Most rewarding La Follette School experience
Every semester is difficult balancing work and school. Every semester is exhausting. Every semester, I complain and curse myself for putting too much on my plate again. After every semester, after I pass the classes that have consumed my life for the previous three months, I prove to myself that I am more capable than I ever thought possible. That right there is the most rewarding experience of the La Follette School for me.
How has the La Follette School changed the way you think about public policy?
I now know how to adequately show the impacts of policy other than fiscal impacts. I now know how to evaluate both qualitative and quantitative costs and benefits of certain policies as well as how to problem solve troubling costs. In our state legislature today, every proposed bill has a fiscal analysis attached to tell lawmakers how much the bill will cost our state fiscally. However, as the La Follette School has taught me, there is more than just fiscal costs to every policy. There is societal cost, there are possibly byproducts and possibly social costs, and the decision-makers are not mandated to know about these. This is practically a paradigm shift for me and has changed my work tremendously.
I volunteer my time organizing volunteers across the state to elect the newest leaders in the state legislature.
People would be surprised if they knew that I …
own my own photography business as a little creative release (and to help pay tuition).