The La Follette School’s annual Visit Day drew 43 prospective students from 14 states and Washington, D.C., to the UW–Madison campus Monday, March 27. Current students, alumni, and faculty members answered a wide range of questions during panel discussions and lunch at Union South.
Associate Director Hilary Shager (MPA ’05) began the day with an overview of the school’s degree programs and curriculum, including its emphasis on applied learning opportunities and its family atmosphere. Her presentation included details about degree requirements, elective courses, support services, professional development and other aspects of the programs.
Professor Dave Weimer and Associate Professors Geoffrey Wallace and Greg Nemet welcomed the prospective students and shared information about the classes they teach and their research. “I view my job as a coach,” Weimer said, adding that the project-based courses provide students with experiences similar to what they may encounter as recent graduates.
Four student panelists extolled the La Follette School’s welcoming and encouraging environment while noting the opportunity to tailor their degrees to fit their personal interests. “The faculty, staff, and fellow students all are highly invested in you being successful,” said Richelle Andre, a second-year student in the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program.
Other student panelists were Kirsten Jacobson, Travis Shoemaker, Sarah Dalgleish, and Kiersten Frobom. Jacobson, a second-year master of international public affairs (MIPA) student, spoke about her summer experience at the Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C., and her on-campus project assistantship (PAship), which provides tuition remission.
Four La Follette School alumni also shared information about their La Follette School experience has helped in their careers. Steph Mabrey and Dan Marlin both received MPA degrees in 2014 and both work in public service – Mabrey at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Marlin at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at UW–Madison.
Like several La Follette School alumni, Mabrey began her career at the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, where she became interested in FoodShare, Wisconsin’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. She ow oversees the FoodShare outreach program as a program and policy analyst at DHS.
At WCER, Marlin works for the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative as a policy analyst, assistant researcher, and program evaluator for several projects, including the evaluation of a personalized learning framework for seven Chicago Public Schools.
Katherine Mitchell and Senay Goitom spoke about their master’s degrees in international public affairs (MIPA). A 2013 alumna, Mitchell combined her MIPA degree with an Energy Analysis and Policy certificate and now is a planning and evaluation analyst for Wisconsin Focus on Energy, the state’s energy efficiency and renewable resource program.
Goitom also uses his MIPA degree in the energy field – as a consultant with DNV GL, where he works as an analyst on a several projects. Most recently, he has been involved in data management for large portfolio customers and exploring data visualization as a means of relaying information to clients. He received his MIPA degree in 2012.
Prospective students also had the opportunity to sit in on four classes: Introduction to Policy Analysis with Professor Tim Smeeding, State and Local Government Finance with Assistant Professor Rourke O’Brien, Politics of Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy with Professor Pam Herd, and Global Environmental Governance with Nemet.
Tthe La Follette School Student Association hosted an evening social at Union South.