Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, September 5, 2016

Sophia Rogers, MPA/JD

Sophia Rogers, MPA/JD

Expected graduation date
May 2019


High school
Madison West

Undergraduate education
Bachelor of science degrees in political science, economics, and mathematics, Barnard College of Columbia University, 2012

Professional/research interests
Energy and climate change, economic opportunity

La Follette Fellow scholarship; Distinction for the Senior Thesis, Barnard Economics and Political Science Departments, 2012; Junior and Senior Marshal, Barnard, 2012 and 2011; Editor-in-Chief of The Columbia Roosevelt Review, Columbia University Roosevelt Institute, 2010 – 2011

What brought you back to Madison for your MPA/JD degrees?
I’m a Madison native and have always wanted to be part of the Wisconsin Idea. The La Follette School is well-known and respected among local policymakers, so I knew I would learn the right skills and credibility.

Why a joint MPA and JD?
I’m highly motivated by social problems. As an undergraduate, I learned that public policy is determined as much by politics as technical constraints. I considered pursuing a PhD in applied economics, but the issues I’m passionate about will not be solved from an ivory tower. I can better help put policy into action with an MPA and JD.

Summer internship
I worked as a project assistant at the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education on campus. I created and distributed a survey for data management at Midwestern Departments of Transportation and built a clearinghouse of workforce development programs.

Which experiences and skills helped you get the internship?
I had previous experience researching workforce development programs and assisting researchers in general. My interest in infrastructure and economic opportunity made me a desirable employee. I heard about the internship through another La Follette student.

Second-year project assistantship
I will be working for Professor Greg Nemet on energy pricing research. I expect to be working in Stata to run regressions on pricing over time.

Volunteer activities
I’m a passionate member of the Teaching Assistants' Association, UW-Madison’s graduate worker union. I’m also involved with Student Labor Action Coalition, a group of labor activists on campus.

Career goals
I hope to work as an advocate or policy adviser. Specifically, I would like to work in climate-change policy. I’m very interested in solar radiation management and its legality.

How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
I have a better understanding of the types of work I can do as a graduate. I’m also learning frameworks with which to analyze policy and budget.

Advice to prospective La Follette School students
If you have a specific policy interest, I strongly encourage you to choose a certificate program. I’m completing the Energy Analysis and Policy certificate with the Nelson Institute. I’ve learned so much about energy and climate change by taking these substantive courses. When I graduate, I’ll be able to apply to jobs as an energy policy analyst.

Anything else?
I love to cook, play music, and watch a ton of TV.

People would be surprised if they knew ...
I once played the voice of a dog in youth orchestra.