Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, February 5, 2018

Sangeetha Shreedaran, MPA

Sangeetha Shreedaran, MPA

Hometown
Savage, Minnesota

Undergraduate education
Bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies, certificates in leadership and global health, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2017

Research interests
Immigration, health, and education policy

Expected graduation
May 2018

Why an MPA?
I decided to pursue a master’s degree in public affairs because of my passion for public service. After my experience working at a refugee resettlement agency a couple years ago, I became extremely interested in immigration policy and how decisions at the state and national level impact immigrant and refugee families in our local communities. As an undergraduate student at UW–Madison, I completed the global health certificate. By taking public health courses and participating in health field experiences such as Wisconsin Express, I developed a strong interest in health policy. I had the opportunity to explore my interest in both health and education policy through a legislative internship with a senator at the Wisconsin State Capitol. These experiences collectively influenced my decision to pursue an MPA.

Why the La Follette School?
Before applying to the La Follette School, I had friends from my internships and classes who spoke very highly of the school. Some were La Follette students, and they told me about the vast expertise that the La Follette faculty had, the engaging and stimulating courses that La Follette offered, and the professional development opportunities for La Follette students. These factors drew my attention to La Follette and motivated me to pursue my MPA there.

Career goals
Ultimately, I want a public service career. I am very passionate about pursuing a career working in health, education, or immigration policy. Ideally, I would love to find a career that exposes me to a variety of policy areas. I know that I want to work in the public sector and that could look very differently depending on the opportunities that I come across.

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
The La Follette School has given me the tools to be successful in any public policy career that I choose. Some courses that I have taken through La Follette such as statistics, economics, and policy analysis have really pushed me to think through problems critically and demand a strong work ethic. I have also been able to explore new policy areas through La Follette such as issues in education policy. La Follette’s alumni connections have helped me land internships working for alumni in exciting and challenging settings. I formerly served as a legal intern for La Follette School alumnus Nick Levine at Levine and Lyon Law Firm. Last semester, I worked as a health policy and quality intern for the Wisconsin Health Care Association with John Vander Meer – another alumnus. These professional experiences have helped me to become a stronger researcher and writer.

Summer internship
During the summer between my first and second year at La Follette, I was a performance management intern for the City of Madison’s Finance Department. I gained essential experience from this internship and learned a great deal about service delivery, measuring services, and data collection.

I helped the Streets and Library Divisions create a data collection plan to provide insights into their services and resident satisfaction. My team and I created presentations about the data collection plan that we delivered to division leadership. I also conducted research and built reports on how other cities across the nation assess local government service provision and resident satisfaction.

What courses have you taken in which you’ve done work for real clients?
Last semester, I completed a 4-year-old kindergarten policy project for my Issues in Educational Policy course. I submitted my work to the Madison Education Partnership and the Department of Public Instruction. I really enjoyed working on my policy brief and appreciated the positive feedback that I received from these organizations. For my capstone, I am working on a client project for the Wisconsin Medical Society, which I am extremely excited about. I have confidence that this experience will help me in the field of health policy in the future.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students
I would tell them to explore their policy interests through a variety of courses and to take courses that help them develop quantitative and transferable skills. I would also highly encourage prospective La Follette students to connect with the La Follette alumni community. La Follette alumni have been extremely helpful as mentors and prospective employers during my time here.

La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) involvement
I am currently the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the La Follette School Student Association. I attend multicultural events and career fairs on campus to promote campus awareness of the La Follette School. I also connect with other divisions on campus that are committed to diversity and inclusion such as the Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer. Finally, I attend monthly LSSA meetings and always appreciate hearing input and feedback from my peers at La Follette on how I can expand outreach through my position.

Off-campus volunteer activities
I currently volunteer as a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. My “little sister” is an extremely bright eighth-grader who I love mentoring.