Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Students Connect with Policy Professionals through Speed Networking

Students Jordan Krieger and Andrew Fisher talk with 2014 alum Steve Kulig (right) Students Jordan Krieger and Andrew Fisher talk with 2014 alum Steve Kulig (right)

First-year La Follette students met with alumni and other public policy professionals Monday in a speed-networking event designed to build relationships and to expose students to the variety of career options available to program graduates.

Groups of students met with 16 professionals, including a wide range of policy areas and representing the public, private and nonprofit sectors, for eight minutes at a time. The event, organized by Outreach Specialist Bridget Pirsch, was part of PA 800, a one-credit professional development workshop required for first semester students. Networking is just one part of the class, which also covers professional writing, employment search skills, and provides an environment where students can learn about new career ideas and pursue the ones they already have.

"The speed-networking event was a great chance to meet with La Follette alumni and learn about their careers, and I appreciated hearing about the different paths they've taken with their degrees," said first-year student Beth Miller.

Networking — a systematic way of making and maintaining contact with people, so that they remember each other when they need each other — is an important component of the job search, La Follette School Associate Director Hilary Shager says, as is practice articulating one's career goals and interests. "This exercise is a valuable and fun way for students to learn about different employment sectors and career trajectories," Shager says. "They are also able to ask questions about what kinds of classes, work experiences, and other networking opportunities might be helpful in their pursuit of different career options."

"Our alumni and friends are very well-connected with people in Wisconsin, the federal government and elsewhere, and they we appreciate their interest in helping our students succeed in their careers and job searches," Shager adds.

The participating professionals were:

  • Ruth Anderson, 2001 Wisconsin Women in Government seminar, MPA University of Illinois, Associate Vice President of Administrative Services, UW System Administration
  • Brian Bell , 2010 MPA, Agency Budget & Policy Analyst, Department of Safety and Professional Services
  • Josh Bindl, 2004 MPA, CEO, National CooperativeRx
  • Sasha Bong, 2012 MIPA, Budget & Policy Analyst, Department of Administration
  • Bill Cosh , 1993 Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration, Agency Spokesperson, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Jami Crespo, 2012 MPA/JD, Policy Analyst, Public Health Madison & Dane County
  • Senay Goitom, 2012 MIPA, consultant, DNV GL
  • Rachel Janke , 2012 MPA, fiscal analyst, Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau
  • Steve Kulig , 2014 MPA, budget and policy analyst, Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Santosh Lamichhane, 2011 MIPA, consultant, DNV GL
  • Steph Mabrey, 2014 MPA, Health Services and Insurance, Legislative Fiscal Bureau
  • Dan Marlin , 2014 MPA, policy analyst, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Christa Pugh, 2014 MPA, Analyst, Legislative Fiscal Bureau
  • Rebecca Schwei, 1995 MA, Director of Bureau of Performance Management, Department of Children and Families
  • Sam Shannon, 2013 MPA, rate and policy analyst, Division of Energy Regulation, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
  • Jean-René Watchou, 2006 MIPA, Director of International Outreach, Christ Presbyterian Church