Incoming master’s students bring variety of experiences to La Follette

Clockwise from upper left: Dominique Villaseñor, Angela Maloney, Awa Maiga, Lauren Rhodes, Anthony Gabriel Carreño, Zach Bauer
Clockwise from upper left: Dominique Villaseñor, Angela Maloney, Awa Maiga, Lauren Rhodes, Anthony Gabriel Carreño, Zach Bauer

This fall, the La Follette School welcomes 40 Master of Public Affairs (MPA) and 13 Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) students. The incoming students bring a variety of experiences to the program, with backgrounds ranging from nonprofit management to education, government, international relations, law, and more. The new students join the school from 12 states and eight countries including Brazil, China, Kenya, Korea, and Pakistan. Below is a sampling of the incoming students’ backgrounds and what they hope to get out of their time at La Follette. To read more, check out the full list of incoming student bios (pdf).

Dominique Villaseñor

Dominique Villaseñor is an MPA student interested in healthcare and education policy. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a neuroscience degree. Her interests in education policy stem from her experience interning at the UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) and California Council on Science and Technology, where she focused her research project on the underrepresentation of women in STEM. After serving as a delegate for the Student Voice Committee and as president of the California Health Professional Student Alliance Chapter at Riverside, she became a strong advocate for a universal healthcare system. Since graduating, she has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and hopes to use her knowledge to educate leaders about the importance of both women in STEM and access to healthcare.

Angela Maloney

Angela Maloney, a native of Madison, is an accelerated student in the MPA program who is double majoring in community and nonprofit leadership and international studies with certificates in public policy, Chicano/Latino studies, development economics, and leadership. She has been involved in grassroots organizing and expanding students’ access to the ballot, and has worked off campus as a labor organizer. Maloney served for two years as President of Zoe Bayliss Student Housing Cooperative working to ensure that students have affordable housing options on campus. She also serves as a caseworker in the Office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and interned with the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Mark Pocan last summer. Maloney plans to pursue a career focused on confronting socioeconomic inequality, defending voting rights, and working to get money out of politics.

Awa Maiga

Awa Maiga is an incoming MIPA student. Originally from Mali in West Africa, she has a master’s degree in culture and business from the University of Mohamed Ben Ahmed-Oran in Algiers in addition to a communication marketing-management certificate. After graduation, she completed an internship at the Embassy of Mali in Algiers. She later started working at Leading Change Africa, an international organization based in the U.S. and Africa, as an executive director. In the future, Maiga is interested in working on projects that will impact people in her home country and in Africa in general. She has a passion for reading and is author of two books.

Zach Bauer

Zach Bauer is a first-year MPA student from Neenah, WI. He graduated from UW–Madison in 2020 with degrees in economics and political science. While at UW, Bauer interned for Rep. David Crowley in the Wisconsin State Assembly and spent a summer working at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. He also participated in UW’s Wisconsin in Washington program, where he interned in the State Dept. Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Since graduation, Bauer has worked for two years with the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services in the Medicaid Division. His work focused on data analysis and rate setting for long term care programs and the direct care workforce payment initiative. His policy interests include social safety net programs, especially Medicaid, and housing policy.

Anthony Gabriel Carreño

Anthony Gabriel Carreño was born and raised in Logan Square, Chicago, Illinois. In May 2022, he graduated from UW–Madison with bachelor’s degrees in international studies and Russian with certificates in Chican@ & Latin@ Studies and Global Health. Carreño is a first-year MPA-MPH student who is interested in exploring the feasibility of universal health coverage in the U.S., improving education infrastructure for students to become lifelong self-learners, and increasing the public’s agency to have a home, which provides consistency in their lives.

Lauren Rhodes

Lauren Rhodes is a first-year MPA and Master of Urban and Regional Planning double degree student. After graduating from Oberlin College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, Rhodes worked on federal policy projects in Washington, D.C. related to carbon pricing and infrastructure policy. After moving to Madison, she developed a strong background in residential energy efficiency program implementation at the strategic consulting firm ICF, and most recently supported a range of program evaluation research projects at ILLUME Advising. At UW–Madison, she looks forward to focusing on environmental justice, learning more about how the urban planning process can be more equitable, and how environmental policy can better connect to public health policy.

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