Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Sunday, February 21, 2021

Lew Blank, MPA

Lew Blank, MPA

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Hometown
Chicago, Illinois

Undergraduate education
Bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, 2020

Professional/research interests
Climate policy, social welfare policy, and reforming our political institutions

Honors
La Follette School fellowship and scholarship

Expected graduation date
May 2022

Why an MPA?
My goal in life is to do everything in my power to help those who aren’t as privileged as I am. I’m pursuing an MPA to strengthen my ability to advocate for those harmed by our unjust economic system, the climate crisis, and other injustices.

Why the La Follette School?
I really appreciate the small class sizes and ability to form connections with faculty at the La Follette School.

Career goals
My goal is to use my career to help advance progressive legislation. I have experience working for nonprofit organizations and think tanks, on political campaigns, and in government, and I’m interested in pushing for progressive policies through any of these avenues.

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
Even though I’ve only attended the La Follette School for one semester, I have developed a stronger understanding through my coursework of the inner workings of US government, our global energy systems, and new statistical tools. I’ve also learned a lot outside of class, specifically from some casual conversations I’ve had about politics with members of my cohort. More broadly, the program has helped me identify areas of politics I want more knowledge and experience in, which has guided the work projects I’ve focused on and the political books I’ve read recently.

Summer internship
I work in two positions that will carry over to the summer. One is as a writer and editor for Data for Progress, which is a think tank that uses polling and policy analysis to build the progressive movement and advise members of Congress to push for more ambitious progressive legislation. The other position is an internship with the Wisconsin Office of Rural Prosperity, where I’m helping develop pilot proposals that, if implemented, would improve environmental sustainability and access to social services in rural Wisconsin. I’m very excited to continue working with these two groups!

Advice to prospective La Follette School students
Make a concerted effort to reach out to your cohort! I’m thankful for the social connections I’ve been able to make with my classmates (despite everything being virtual).

La Follette School Student Association involvement
I am a social co-coordinator with LSSA. We’re living through a pandemic that has been an isolating experience for so many of us, and I’m happy that I’ve been able to help plan some events that have kept people’s spirits up!

People would be surprised if they knew that I …
… went to Cuba on a total budget of $500 (including airfare)! Video series here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlP40Zb2Uz3zJcejYl83egSkIz2SRzqMs