It was during my time as a resource navigator that I became passionate about helping refugees. I had always known that I wanted to “do good,” but I felt through helping recent immigrants and refugees that I had found my calling. I grew frustrated at the bureaucratic challenges my patients faced, and I knew a MIPA degree was right for me.
Helping officials in Brown County determine if removal of harmful blue green algae in Green Bay would have net costs or benefits really felt like an apt application of the Wisconsin Idea. Helping to determine if the water quality could be improved would have a direct impact on many Wisconsinites.
I feel more confident that I have the skills and abilities to succeed post-graduation and to work toward a career in public policy that I enjoy and am able to contribute meaningfully to.
In the La Follette School, I found a program committed in word and deed to supporting students who want to make a career of public service. That made all the difference for me.
After 13 years’ experience in international humanitarian aid, Bill Schmitt (MIPA ’05) joined United Methodist Children’s Services of Wisconsin (UMCS) in Milwaukee as its executive director. He previously worked for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), leading relief efforts for some of the world’s most challenging crises, including the Darfur Genocide, the War in Afghanistan, the West Sumatran Earthquake, and the Syrian civil war.
"The La Follette School gives me the flexibility to take the courses I find most relevant. French coursework has helped me communicate with my partner in the Congo DPR, while a human resources class at the Wisconsin School of Business gave me an introduction on how to effectively manage an organization’s human capital."
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.
Sam Austin (MIPA ’08) joined the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) as a senior policy advisor in December 2019.
Katie Sanders (MIPA ’05) has joined the Milwaukee Public Museum as chief planning officer after nearly six years as executive director of Safe & Sound. In her new role, she will coordinate the planning of exhibits and visitor experiences, space planning, partnerships, lobbying, public relations, and building and construction planning.
The most recent episode of the Thank You, 72 podcast features Daniel Speckhard (MA ’82) and Laura Bunn, a student in the La Follette School’s Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA) program.