News: Social Policy
Mariel Barnes joins the La Follette School as an assistant professor of public affairs this fall. Her primary research agenda examines everyday forms of violence against women, gender, and the politics of the welfare state with a specific focus on highly industrialized countries.
Several years of working in classrooms, research labs, and other educational arenas shaped my understanding of the shortcomings within education systems. This motivated me to improve learning outcomes for populations left at the margins of education.
La Follette School faculty members Jason Fletcher, Yang Wang, and Christine Durrance received funding to support their research from UW–Madison’s Understanding and Reducing Inequalities Initiative. Their projects were among only 15 selected from 73 proposals.
What do broadband access, green spaces, and stable housing have in common? They all influence a person’s health. Together, they have a greater impact on health than medical care or health behaviors such as going to the gym. The La Follette School convened legislators and staff to discuss how these social, economic, and physical environment factors—often called social determinants of health—affect Wisconsin families’ health.
I began the year working with Professor Greg Nemt to prepare content for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report. Since then, I’ve worked on research for projects on policies related to technological innovation, low energy demand, and carbon removal.
I have been an active volunteer since I went to college, and I am always willing to help others and try to solve social issues such as lack of education in rural areas, poor living conditions in orphanages, severe air pollution, and so on.
I was drawn to UW–Madison because of my respect for the history of social change and challenge driven by students and select faculty, from the Civil Rights Movement era and beyond—Chicanx students, Black American students, environmental justice advocates, workers’ rights advocates, and allies who have driven change locally and nationally.
Before I started the program, my career goals were focused on working in or with a school district or advocacy organization to create and implement community-based, just policies. After taking Public Management with Professor Tana Johnson and Education Policy in Context and Action with Professor Annalee Good, I am considering work focused on program evaluation and participatory action research.
Having attended a small college for my undergraduate education, the La Follette School’s small class sizes and opportunities to get to know faculty well were a big reason I chose the program. The La Follette School has the same feel as a small school while providing access to the perks of a large university.