Public policy certificate alum Cameron Yonan spent the summer during their junior year participating in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Yonan notes that their experiences at UW–Madison and La Follette School public policy courses prepared them for the intensive summer program.
The PPIA is a not-for-profit organization that has been supporting efforts to increase diversity in public service for more than 40 years. PPIA believes that society is best served by public managers, policymakers, and community leaders who represent diverse backgrounds and perspectives. To achieve this goal, PPIA has a focus on students from groups who are underrepresented in leadership positions in government, nonprofits, international organizations, and other institutional settings.
Each year, PPIA seeks out high-potential undergraduate students from universities across the country to participate in an intensive seven-week Junior Summer Institute (JSI) program before their senior year. During their program, fellows are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in graduate school and ultimately in influential roles serving the public good.
The JSI Fellowship program is a fully funded academic graduate-level preparation program for undergraduate juniors committed to public service careers. The purpose of the JSI Fellowship is to prepare students to obtain a master’s or a joint degree in public policy, public administration, international affairs, or a related field. Once students have completed their JSI Fellowship, they join an alumni network of more than 4,000 leaders. In addition to the opportunities that this network provides for mentoring and career development, program alumni have the opportunity to receive financial support for their graduate school education if they attend one of the programs in PPIA’s Graduate School Consortium.
Yonan shares that the program allowed them to live and work with members from the PPIA cohort. They instantly clicked with a group of people with similar professional and academic goals. Moreover, Yonan was able to meet a wide variety of faculty, staff, and graduate students who were able to share their honest perspectives on public policy and their experiences at the University of Washington Evans School.
“Public policy is a very broad field, and it is people who bring in their many different experiences and perspectives who become influential policymakers,” says Yonan. The program provided them with several unique and impactful opportunities like field trips to Microsoft’s campus and personalized mentorship that continues to this day.
Yonan graduated from UW–Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in public policy in 2022 and currently attends the Evans School as an MPA candidate. Applications for the 2024 JSI cycle are now open and the deadline to apply is November 15. If you have any questions about PPIA or how to obtain a certificate in health or public policy, contact undergraduate program coordinator Mary Michaud (email@example.com). You can also set up an advising appointment with Michaud using Starfish.
-Written by Carlos Puga