Bachelor’s degrees in political science and public administration, and a professional writing certificate, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse
Social welfare; higher education policy; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
John E. Magerus Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior from the College of Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities (UW–La Crosse); College of Liberal Studies Recognition of Excellence Award, Political Science & Public Administration (UW–La Crosse)
Expected graduation date
Why the La Follette School?
Attending La Follette was a no-brainer for me. I’m a Wisconsinite at heart, the prestige of the program was well known, and faculty in my undergraduate department always talked of it as a great next step for me. I was accepted to other competing programs, but the La Follette staff were by far more responsive and helpful in answering questions I had. I truly felt wanted by the program, and it felt like La Follette was invested in me as an individual rather than a number or statistic. Also, my father lives in Milwaukee, and I wanted to make sure I was close to him (especially since he’s my go-to dogsitter).
When I first came to La Follette my career goal was to work in local/city government, preferably in Milwaukee, to serve underrepresented and vulnerable populations. I was unsure exactly how this would take form, but I didn’t rule out running for a political office and/or working in a bureaucratic capacity. My goal has shifted during my time here. I developed a passion for higher education policy and administration through the various elective coursework I’ve taken, projects done in my core coursework classes, and my assistantships. I see myself taking the skills I’ve learned in La Follette and using them to advance my career in higher education policy creation, implementation, and analysis.
I was a teaching assistant for the Political Science Department in my first semester of graduate school. That was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to use the expertise and knowledge I gained throughout my undergraduate education to foster a learning community with my students.
The past two years I have served as the diversity and inclusion project assistant for the Graduate School. I was drawn to the position because DEI work has always been a central component of my life and time in higher education. The job allows me to foster community among underrepresented graduate students here at UW–Madison and grow a strong network of DEI champions and allies. I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to serve in these roles, as I have not had to pay for any of my schooling despite staying an extra year.
Advice for prospective La Follette School students
Try to get to know those in your cohort. Odds are you will be working with each other in a variety of capacities, and it feels nice knowing you are there to support one another. Graduate school can be isolating, but the cohort style of the program creates an opportunity to foster community and work towards the degree together. There is no way I could have gotten through this program without the advice and support from my peers. Even if that doesn’t sound like something you’d buy into, at the very least join a study group (especially for econ and stats)!
Most challenging experience La Follette School experience
The COVID-19 pandemic was incredibly isolating and made it difficult for me to navigate graduate school and assistantships at first. I took lighter courseloads than my peers and ended up staying an extra year. The La Follette School was incredibly supportive of my nontraditional path, and I am proud to say I will be graduating this semester!
Most rewarding experience La Follette School experience
I have met some of the most brilliant and wonderful human beings during my time here at La Follette. Students in my cohort all brought vastly different kinds and levels of expertise to the program. The coursework alone is top-tier, but talking to my peers and hearing their stories was a surprisingly invaluable source of knowledge and growth for me. Fostering a network comprised of these people has by far been the most rewarding experience here at La Follette.
Before the La Follette School
I reached out to current students to ask questions and feel out the culture of La Follette as well as UW–Madison. I was able to ask questions that garnered unfiltered responses from these students, which helped me decide to enroll in the program. I highly suggest asking to talk to current students if you want to get a better understanding of the program.
I adopted a COVID dog named Zeus in 2020. He’s a butthead but I love him. I thoroughly enjoy (and sometimes spend too much time) watching and reviewing cinema. Since starting graduate school, my mornings start with an NPR podcast, which is how I know that I am getting old. Lastly, despite the busyness of graduate school, I always make sure to spend time playing video games or visiting with friends. Having a social-life/work-life balance is important!
People would be surprised if they knew that…
I despise ranch dressing.