Bachelor’s degree in political science, certificate in public policy, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Fiscal Federalism and how to best use federal funding to solve the most pressing policy issues
Intern with the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2022
Expected graduation date
Why the La Follette School?
I was drawn to the La Follette School while I was an undergraduate certificate student in public policy. From my first courses, I was exposed to the experts at La Follette and the rigorous curriculum that makes one a better citizen and policymaker. This led me to apply for the accelerated program as I wanted to further my education at an institution that uses evidence-based policy making. The faculty, staff, advisors, and small cohort make La Follette feel like a small liberal arts college, but you also have access to a world-renowned R1 research institution.
My career goals are to apply my fascination with federalism, the sharing of powers between the federal and state government. Specifically, my research interests are reducing social stratification while investing in communities by using fiscal federalism. One avenue I am looking at is using the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and Wisconsin Department of Health Services to expand the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Education and Training program to ensure that the uptake rate, and subsequently the success rate, can be elevated. I would like to use my La Follette education and previous experience in a legislative and NGO (non-governmental organization) setting to make a difference and promote the Wisconsin Idea whether working for the National Conference of State Legislatures, the USDA, or a state Department of Health Services.
Prior to starting at La Follette, in the summer of 2022, I was accepted into the UW–Madison Political Science Department’s Wisconsin in Washington Program, which allowed me to live and work in D.C. for 8 weeks! While in D.C., I was a state-federal affairs intern for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a well-respected non-partisan NGO that seeks to uphold federalism and support the state legislatures in the U.S. and its territories. It was at NCSL that I was presented with opportunities from my supervisors to attend federal agency meetings and state agency webinars, create policy memos, visit the U.S. Capitol, and even go to a Nationals Game!
My favorite part of working at NCSL was that every day was different. One day, I could be asked to attend a meeting with a federal agency such as the Department of Transportation or the Department of the Interior. On another day, I might assist with an online seminar for NCSL such as meeting with state legislators and stakeholders regarding affordable housing. However, every day I would attend and take notes at congressional hearings and digest the written testimonies of the witnesses. Thanks to Dr. Denia Garcia’s PA 200: Contemporary Public Policy Issues class, which I took while completing the Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy, I had experience creating and understanding testimony before a congressional committee. I was fortunate to be exposed to various policy issues including veterans’ affairs, infrastructure, education, labor, and health.
What experiences and skills helped you get the internship?
The skills and experience that helped me get the internship with NSCL were a combination of taking public policy certificate courses such as PA 240: Evidence-Based Policymaking with Professor Mariel Barnes, PA 520: Inequality, Race, and Public Policy with Professor Denia Garcia, and an internship with a Wisconsin State Representative. The supervisors at NCSL who brought me on were impressed by the courses that I took as a certificate student. My skills in statistical methods, policy analysis, and problem-solving helped me get this Internship.
Advice for prospective La Follette School students
Take advantage of the resources available at La Follette. The staff at La Follette offers a one-stop shop for your career, academic, and personal needs. During the middle of my first semester, I struggled with keeping up with statistics and decided to go to peer-led tutoring and talk with my professors. I ended up getting through the courses by working hard and asking for help needed from my peers, second-year students, tutors, and professors. Take advantage of your resources early on and you will succeed and have a challenging yet rewarding first semester!
Most rewarding La Follette School experience
Working through the quantitative-based courses and finding success by reaching out to my professors and asking for help has been my most rewarding experience. The courses at La Follette are rigorous; however, they make you a better policymaker who roots policy recommendations in evidence-based policymaking. It was extremely rewarding to finish my first semester as an accelerated MPA student while finishing my bachelor’s degree in political science with a certificate in public policy. Knowing that I am on my way to earning a degree that is well-respected and sought-after in both Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin is a feather in my cap that I am grateful for.
People would be surprised if they knew that…
I am a wannabe Grateful Dead guitarist (with more practice) and an aspiring Gordan Ramsey. Additionally, I am an AFOL, an adult fan of Lego with a layout of a city that has economic policies inspired by Microeconomics for Policy Analysis with Professor Jason Fletcher.