Madison Mehlberg, MPA

Portrait of Madison MehlbergContact Madison


Clintonville, Wisconsin

Undergraduate education

Bachelor’s degree in political science with certificates in public policy and political economy, philosophy, and politics, UW–Madison

Professional/research interests

Education, specifically closing the achievement gaps within K-12 schools, mitigating and reducing family and child poverty, increasing upward economic and social mobility

Expected graduation date

May 2024

Why an MPA?

When I first started undergrad, I thought that I wanted to go to law school. I thought that earning a law degree was the answer to being able to shape policy. However, after taking the undergraduate intro-level public policy course here at UW, PA 200: Contemporary Public Policy Issues, I realized pursuing an MPA was the right option for me!

Why the La Follette School?

I enrolled in the undergraduate certificate in public policy as an undergrad, and it was fantastic. The La Follette School staff was incredibly helpful. They helped find every single internship I have held to date. I attended informational sessions in undergrad to prepare myself for the MPA application process to ensure I was on the right track to being accepted into the program. Between La Follette’s amazing staff, courses, and my love for the University of Wisconsin, I knew attending La Follette’s MPA program was the right choice for me.

Career goals

I hope to pursue a career in state government. As a born and raised Wisconsinite, I am passionate about making this state better. I have considered working for the Department of Workforce Development or the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, which are two places I have had internships at and loved. I also could picture myself working for the Department of Children and Families.

La Follette has done a wonderful job of providing courses that show you multiple aspects of the policy world. My courses have shown me areas of the policymaking process I love, as well as other options I am not as fond of. Being aware of what I am passionate about will help me look for jobs that I know I will find interesting (and avoid jobs that are not for me).


I am currently a teaching assistant for PA 200: Contemporary Public Policy Issues. I was offered a year-long assistantship for this my first year as a part of my admissions offer and have continued my role as a TA now in my second year.


I held an internship at the Department of Workforce Development in the Division of Employment and Training as a Policy Analyst. I am continuing this internship part-time into the 2023-2024 school year.

DWD is responsible for providing services to Wisconsin workers, employers, and jobseekers to meet Wisconsin’s workforce needs. They primarily focus on up-skilling Wisconsin’s workforce and keeping unemployment levels low. In this position, I have worked on many different projects. I have reviewed proper forms notices to make sure they are in compliance with state statutes, designed and created testimonial videos for the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, and developed talking points for all offices and bureaus in the Division of Employment and Training.

My favorite project was working on a Migrant Housing Inspection checklist. I ensured all DWD, OSHA, and EPA statutes were encompassed in the checklist, so all migrant housing in the state complies with the law and is safe to live in.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students

If you are an incoming student, I would highly recommend the ungraded, self-paced, modular and free summer math prep the La Follette School offers to all incoming graduate students. It will help you refresh yourself on basic math you may not have done in a while and prepare you for PA 880: Microeconomic Policy Analysis and PA 818: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis.

Most challenging La Follette School experience

My most challenging experience was definitely the introductory statistics course, PA 818. As someone who has always struggled with statistics, this course was a hoop to jump through.

Most rewarding La Follette School experience

The most rewarding experience was creating my own policy analysis paper. I wrote my policy analysis on reducing driving emissions in Madison; it is one of my papers I am most proud of.

Anything else?

I love attending concerts, hanging with my friends, and exploring Madison. My favorite book is “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson.

Interested in studying at the La Follette School?

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