Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Ethan Dickler, MPA

Ethan Dickler Ethan Dickler

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Hometown
Mineral Point, WI

Undergraduate education
Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, certificate in European Studies, UW–Madison

Professional/research interests
Equitable education policy

Achievements
UW–Madison Center for Religion and Global Citizenry Interfaith Fellow, UW–Madison Writing Center Writing Fellow

Expected graduation date
2023

Age
23

Why an MPA?
I worked in student government as an undergraduate and loved the policy making process. It was the highlight of my freshman year and I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career.

Why the La Follette School?
The Wisconsin Idea drew me to La Follette. A lot of schools have mission statements and claim to work towards ideals, but La Follette has a history of putting their actions to match their words. Bob La Follette is an inspiration and I love how often I open a policy-related book and see a La Follette professor in the acknowledgments.

Career goals
Short-term, I would love to work as a budget or policy analyst for state government. In the long-run, I want to run for office.

Experiences that have helped meet your career goals?
As an undergraduate, I thought of courses as challenges to overcome. However, since starting La Follette, I now see courses as opportunities to try new skills. I am excited to be taking courses on statistics and budgeting this semester — that’s a former English major talking! Who would have guessed that I would be excited about math!

Assistantship
I am working in the History Department as a writing tutor this year. I am technically in the “History Lab” where I help undergraduates with their academic essays. I love the position. I took eight history classes as an undergraduate, but never did a certificate or major. I love the opportunity to read all the research students undertake in their classes. I am also pleasantly surprised at how often policy enters the historical conversation. It took working in the History department for me to realize that policy decisions often make history, for better or worse.

Summer internship
I worked for the Agronomy Department as a Greenhouse Associate. I cared for genetically altered popular trees that were being developed to create more efficient fuel. It was cool to see how Green policy initiatives from the state and federal government were being implemented at UW-Madison.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students
Be a Bob with pride! La Follette is not like other graduate programs on campus. When we are here, we work, socialize, and study together. We are Bobs together. The community is awesome and taught me so much about working with others toward success. It is not like Law School; we are all in this together and we help each other out the whole time.

Most challenging La Follette School experience
I did not think that I would finish Stats 818. I thought I would drop it several times, but Gabriel Terrell told me to stick around. He said that even if I did not process all the information, I was absorbing some and it always pays to finish what you start. I’m glad I listened to him.

I must also thank Ben Vargas, Adrian Arcoleo, Spencer Johnson, and Fred Flores. We worked on Statistics 818 last semester together every Tuesday morning. It was a great group and I learned so much from them about regressions and some theory aspects to statistics. I couldn’t have done it without them.

The Wisconsin Idea
I knew about the Wisconsin Idea as an undergraduate, but I never understood how special it was until I became a Bob. The Idea, for me, is more than just a policy goal or a mission statement, the Wisconsin Idea is a way to live every day. For me, the Idea says to act so that everything you do and say has a positive impact on those around you – that is how to spread a positive influence across the state and the world.  

People would be surprised if they knew that I …
Travelled all the time before COVID. I’ve been to 30 countries and 42 states. (I’ve barely left Madison, though in the past two years).