Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, March 30, 2020

La Follette School students elected to campuswide leadership positions

Laura Downer, Jacob Pankratz, Tessa Reilly Laura Downer, Jacob Pankratz, Tessa Reilly

Two La Follette School students, Laura Downer and Jacob Pankratz, won election to Associated Students of Madison (ASM), the official student government of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in March. Downer, ASM’s current Student Council chair, and Pankratz will serve as graduate student representatives for the 2020-21 academic year.

Tessa Reilly, a student in the inaugural cohort of the La Follette School’s Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy program, also was re-elected to ASM’s Student Services Finance Committee (SSFC) and as a College of Letters & Science representative on ASM’s Student Council. Reilly, SSFC’s current vice chair, will begin her graduate studies in the La Follette School’s accelerated program in fall 2020.

Downer also represents students in the College of Letters & Science this academic year. A first-year Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) student in the accelerated program, Downer will receive her bachelor’s degree in international studies, German, and political science this spring. As the current ASM chair, she leads several student-led committees that oversee the allocation of student segregated fees and lead grassroots campaigns.

Pankratz received his bachelor’s degree in social welfare and history from UW–Madison in 2015. He then taught middle school science on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota through Teach for America and worked at Epic before starting his graduate school studies.

ASM represents the needs of more than 43,000 students. It has roughly 50 elected or appointed students, 50 student employees, 12 professional staff members, and 200 student appointees on committees that hold legal rights to recommend university policies, budgets, and candidates for UW–Madison employment. ASM allocates approximately $51 million in segregated university fees each year and is responsible for management of the Student Activity Center, distribution of the student bus pass, and the day-to-day operations of StudentPrint.