Sam Schneider, MPA

Photo of Sam SchneiderHometown

Oconomowoc, WI

Undergraduate education

Bachelor of Science in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and Political Science, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Professional/research interests

Poverty, wealth Inequality


2019 Most Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies, School of Human Ecology

Expected graduation date

May 2023

Why an MPA?

During COVID I had a lot of time to reflect on the importance of public policy and was inspired to get involved to make a larger impact on society. In particular, I paid close attention to the distribution of monetary resources (i.e. stimulus checks) and social injustice.

Why the La Follette School?

I’m a Wisconsinite at heart and fell in love with Madison during my time as an undergraduate. I also knew La Follette would be a tight knit community which helps foster relationships between students and faculty.

Career goals?

My career goals are to work on the “private” side of public policy. I’m interested in working as a policy researcher for a think tank or serving as an associate at a government consulting firm.

How has the La Follette School set you on the path to meeting your career goals?

La Follette courses have helped set me up in numerous ways, including:

  • Writing excellent, evidence-based policy memos
  • Building quantitative-statistical skills to analyze data
  • Using economic modeling to predict market effects and to justify government intervention
  • Assessing the impact of policies and potential alternatives


La Follette School alumni, Sangeetha Watson, MPA ‘18 and Chris Meyers, MPA ‘18 have been helpful in sharing more information about what it’s like working for Grant Thornton, a private government consulting firm. Anna Barry, Accelerated MPA ‘21 has been kind enough to share more about her experience working for American Institutes for Research, a prominent D.C think tank.

Advice for prospective students

  • Try to have an idea of what you want to do post La Follette. Grad school is only two years which means after one year you’re already looking for jobs. Knowing what kind of career path interests you will help you choose classes and internships during your time at La Follette.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Network, Network, Network – even though it can be uncomfortable, who you know is a crucial part of building human capital. La Follette alumni and faculty are more than willing to connect.

Most challenging La Follette School experience?

My most challenging and rewarding experience at the La Follette School has been learning Stata – a statical software for data science. I had never coded prior to La Follette but once you learn the basics, it’s easy to build up your skills in data manipulation, visualization, and reporting.

Before the La Follette School

Prior to La Follette, I served for 2.5 years as a Development Coordinator for the Madison Public Schools Foundation – a local 501 (C)(3) nonprofit dedicated to ensuring Madison will have excellent, well-funded public schools in which learning is celebrated and all students graduate ready for college, career, and community involvement. My primary role was managing the Foundation’s annual giving programs.

People would be surprised if they knew that I …

…have a twin brother who currently lives in Boston.

Anything else?

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading fiction novels, and visiting my parents’ new puppy!

  • Favorite Book: Where the Crawdads Sing
  • Favorite Movie: Saving Private Ryan
  • Favorite T.V Show: Game of Thrones