Incoming master’s students bring unique skills and experiences

The La Follette community is excited to welcome 28 Master of Public Affairs (MPA) and 15 Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) students this fall. These incoming students traveled from all over the world to study at UW–Madison, bringing with them a variety of backgrounds, specialties, and perspectives. The La Follette School is proud to receive new students from 12 states plus Washington, D.C. and seven different countries including Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Syria, and Thailand.

Graduate program manager Mo O’Connor and graduate program admissions and recruitment coordinator David Wright-Racette worked to recruit and yield this exceptionally strong class and are excited about the ways they will contribute to the learning environment in the La Follette School and in the world after they graduate. “The true joy of my job is when these fantastic students that we have gotten to know during the application process meet and connect to each other and the larger La Follette School community. There is so much promise in those moments and great excitement about all that comes next,” says O’Connor. Learn more about the backgrounds and aspirations of members of the incoming class below and by reading the incoming student bios (pdf).

Brelynn Bille

Portrait of Brelynn Bille

Brelynn Bille is a senior here at UW–Madison studying community and nonprofit leadership with certificates in public policy and disability rights and services. An accelerated Master of Public Affairs student, Bille’s policy interests include increasing access and inclusion for people with disabilities and eliminating administrative burdens for disabled and multiply marginalized folks. She has worked in the Wisconsin Senate Sergeant at Arms office, Schreiber GR Group, and the National Disability Mentoring Coalition, but you are more likely to see her working as an event manager at the student unions.

Alivia Lindorfer

Portrait of Alivia Lindorfer

Alivia Lindorfer is an incoming Master of Public Affairs student and a UW–Madison graduate with a bachelor of arts in political science. For the past four years Lindorfer has been a member of UW–Madison’s varsity swim and dive team. She will begin her fifth (and final) year of NCAA eligibility this fall. Lindorfer’s policy interests center around a passion towards helping those who are disadvantaged and marginalized in society. She is excited to learn about ways that she can create thoughtful and productive policies.

Luis Navarrete

Portrait of Luis Navarrete

Luis Navarrete is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning. He graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor of arts in political science and previously worked in the Office of Mayor Cavalier Johnson in Milwaukee. He served with local and national nonprofits such as AmeriCorps, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, the Boys and Girls Club, and Hispanics Forward. This past summer, Navarrete worked as a fundraising and development intern for Genesys Works, a national nonprofit that assists high school students in underserved communities in their professional development through skill training, work experience, and networking opportunities.

Richmond Osei Panford

Richmond Osei Panford

Richmond Osei Panford is an incoming Master of Public Affairs student from Ghana. He received a first-class honors bachelor of arts in sociology with a minor in social work from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2020. Panford went on to serve as a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Sociology and Social Work for a year. He has also worked as a consultant/quality control officer and a client support unit officer. Panford’s undergraduate experiences and work as a TRA helped develop policy interests in social and economic equity, governance and accountability, and public policy. He’s also interested in how evidence-based research and solutions can be used to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of government policies in these fields, specifically in his local community and home country, Ghana. Panford hopes to help less privileged individuals in his home country have equitable access to social and economic opportunities to enable their development.

Ryan Ring

Portrait of Ryan Ring

Ryan Ring is a first-year Master of Public Affairs student with a background in government and politics. Ring hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in political science. During college, Ring was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve as the Traditional Student Regent on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, where he advocated for affordable tuition, an increase in state investments, freedom of expression, and the restructuring of the UW System. After college, Ring worked as a legislative correspondent for Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. in Washington, D.C. He currently works for Representative Alex Dallman, a member of the Joint Committee on Finance, assisting with policy related to Wisconsin’s biennial budget. Stemming from his background in finance, Ring’s policy interests include public finance and taxes, economic policy, regulatory reform, and public administration.

Jarunee Shuller

Portrait of Jarunee Shuller

Jarunee Shuller is an incoming Master of International Public Affairs student. Originally from Maha Sarakham, one of the poorest provinces in Thailand, she received a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Washington State University in 2021. She works as a transmission line engineer in Madison. In her free time, Shuller has been helping refugees get settled, and she has always dreamed that one day she would return to her hometown and start enacting change there. She would like everybody in Maha Sarakham to have equal access to education and to put an end to human trafficking. Shuller’s policy interests are education, social justice, and economic policy.

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