Bachelor’s degrees in city and regional planning and public management, leadership and policy, The Ohio State University
Community economic development, climate mitigation and resilience, state and local government finance
Expected graduation date
Why an MPA?
After working in Washington, D.C. for a few years in the nonprofit and think tank spaces, I knew I wanted to do something more policy oriented. I was looking to build stronger skills in quantitative analysis and a deeper understanding of the policymaking process, particularly as it relates to supporting thriving communities and equitable economic opportunities. An MPA seemed like the perfect opportunity to hone my management skills and think more analytically about the biggest policy issues facing our nation’s communities.
Why the La Follette School?
I was drawn to the La Follette School’s curriculum, which focuses on the practical skills I was looking for. La Follette School courses focus on both quantitative analysis and soft skills needed to work in policy, and many courses incorporate real-world application. I have always taken an interdisciplinary approach to my studies, and the La Follette School provides a lot of opportunities to explore coursework and topics in other areas. I was also drawn to the professional development opportunities available at the La Follette School and in the city of Madison more broadly. Being in a capital city provides incredible opportunities for internships and networking, from volunteering on a campaign to interning at a state government agency. I’m also a Midwesterner at heart and am particularly interested in local economic development for Midwestern communities that have historically been left behind.
I am interested in how local communities in the Midwest can promote prosperity for all regardless of race, gender, zip code, or other identity. This will become even more crucial as climate change shifts migration patterns and alters the economy, which will create new challenges in housing, transportation, health, and more for local communities. I want to work on addressing these issues through evidence-based policy, and I look forward to exploring what exactly that could look like and learning the necessary skills during my time at La Follette.
I am a research assistant with the UW–Madison Division of Extension. My role is with the Community Economic Development Program, which works with communities across the state to enhance economic vitality and promote opportunities to thrive. I work on a broad range of issues including affordable housing, placemaking, broadband access, tourism, and more. Some of my specific responsibilities have included cataloguing economic development organizations in Wisconsin, analyzing the impact of short-term rentals on affordable housing supply, and providing data and writing support on various publications. I have learned so much about the challenges and opportunities facing Wisconsin’s rural communities and am often able to apply theories and skills I learn in the classroom to my work with Extension.
Advice for prospective La Follette School students
Take graduate school as an opportunity to challenge yourself and explore issues, perspectives, and skills outside your comfort zone. Graduate school is a unique opportunity to try new things, so take as many chances to do that as you can!
How has the La Follette School changed the way you think about public policy?
The “right answer” isn’t always as obvious as it seems – public policymaking is a complicated process with many nuances. While you may come in with one idea of what the answer is, further analysis and exploration might reveal something completely different, and show a whole new angle you didn’t originally think of. It’s important to be open to having your mind changed, and to build skills for conducting meaningful analysis on any given issue.
Before La Follette
Prior to joining the La Follette School, I worked in Washington, D.C. for about four years. I originally moved to D.C. for a post-grad internship at Brookings Metro, where I supported the external relations team in connecting research to action. I then accepted a full-time role at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, where I worked with communities across the country on job quality and equitable workforce development. Most recently, I worked on the Inclusive Growth team at the Greater Washington Partnership, which is a civic alliance of leading employers and institutions from Baltimore to Richmond dedicated to advancing an inclusive and competitive regional economy.
Interested in studying at the La Follette School?