In December, 20 students graduated with Certificates in Public Policy and four students graduated with Certificates in Health Policy, including one student who completed both certificates.
Certificate graduates completed majors in a wide variety of disciplines across the social sciences, humanities, life sciences, and physical sciences. Together, these 24 students completed requirements for 34 majors and 38 certificate programs, reflecting the interdisciplinary perspectives of students who take courses in the La Follette School.
Kaylin Hewitt, the first student to have completed both certificates, majored in global health, which became a new major during her sophomore year at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was significantly impacting daily life around the world. “I’d had experience interning in a public health department, which I loved, but I realized that that wasn’t quite the right fit,” says Hewitt. “Taking policy courses allowed me to discover ways to target the issues I was passionate about from a different angle. The combination of my global health major and the Certificate in Public Policy courses ultimately led me to the area I am most passionate about: health policy. When I learned of the new Certificate in Health Policy, I felt there was no better way to gain even more in-depth knowledge about the subject.”
For Hewitt, health policy combined an understanding of root causes of health problems with learning about how to apply analytical tools and evidence to address structural and political challenges involved in medical care and public health. “I loved that the certificates allowed for personalization and choosing course topics I was most interested in,” Hewitt says. “I also gained experience writing policy briefs and analyses, which have been some of the most impactful assignments of my college career. I really cannot say enough positive things about completing the health and public policy certificates and the La Follette faculty I’ve learned from in the process.” Hewitt is currently applying to public policy master’s programs and plans to pursue a career or higher education in health policy.
The undergraduate certificate programs allow students to develop skills in critical thinking, analysis, and communication while focusing on real-world problems. These skills complement a student’s major course of study, helping to build a strong foundation for a wide range of careers in government, nonprofit organizations, or the private sector. Many students also go on to graduate programs in a range of disciplines. Currently, over 350 students are enrolled one or both La Follette School certificate programs. The undergraduate certificates were made possible by the La Follette School’s Kohl Initiative, created in May 2019 with a $10 million gift from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl.