Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Students speedily network with alumni, friends

Students Kaubin Neupane and Xin Nong talk with 2011 alum Sylvia Ramirez at the speed-networking session that is part of the La Follette School's professional development course. Students Kaubin Neupane and Xin Nong talk with 2011 alum Sylvia Ramirez at the speed-networking session that is part of the La Follette School's professional development course.

Alumni and other public policy professionals sat down with 39 La Follette School students to talk about careers at a speed-networking session October 27.

The 21 professionals from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors met individually with one or two students for about five minutes. When the time was up, the students moved to another professional. "Students practiced their communication skills and talked about their career goals," says Outreach Specialist Bridget Pirsch, who organized the event as part of the La Follette School's one-credit professional development workshop.

"The speed networking event is a fantastic opportunity to personally meet and connect with a friendly and engaged group of La Follette alumni and friends," says first-year student Drew McDermott, who is in the Master of Public Affairs degree program. "The exposure to people with such a variety of experiences and great breadth of knowledge in such a short amount of time felt very unique. Although the five minutes with each alumnus ended quickly, I was surprised by the variety of interesting and valuable conversations I had and by each person's pronounced interest in my own background. For me, a first-year student, the event facilitated an important starting point for a number of great connections with La Follette's talented alumni."

Networking — a systematic way of making and maintaining contact with people, so that they remember each other when they need each other — is an important component of the job search, La Follette School Associate Director Hilary Shager says, as is practice at articulating one's career goals and interests. "This gathering is a valuable and fun way for students to learn about career opportunities," Shager says. "Students may not initially appreciate a specific agency or career path, but after they talk with a variety of people and hear about different employers, they see more options to pursue."

"Our alumni are very well-connected with people in Wisconsin, the federal government and elsewhere, and they are interested in helping our students succeed in their careers and job searches," Shager adds.

The participating professionals were:

  • Ruth Anderson, 2001 Wisconsin Women in Government seminar graduate, assistant vice president of administrative services, University of Wisconsin System
  • Brian Bell, 2010 MPA, elections and ethics specialist, Wisconsin Government Accountability Board
  • Josh Bindl, 2004 MPA, director of programs and services, Wisconsin Counties Association
  • Claire Boyce, 2014 Master of International Public Affairs , associate director of development for the university's School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • Emily Brunjes, 2013 MIPA, data manager/analyst, Wisconsin HOPE Lab, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Bill Cosh, 1993 master's degree in public policy and administration, agency spokesperson, Office of Communications, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Josef Dvorak, 2014 MPA, budget and policy analyst-advanced, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
  • Senay Goitom, 2012 MIPA, consultant, DNV GL
  • Adam Hartung, 2011 MPA, budget and policy analyst, Department of Children and Families
  • Rachel Howard, 2006 MIPA, communications manager and data analyst, CET Academic Programs
  • Rachel Janke, 2012 MPA, fiscal analyst, Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau
  • Kara Kratowicz, 2011 WWIG seminar graduate, performance management analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families' KidStat program
  • Todd Kreider, 1997, master's degree in public affairs and public administration, holds a Ph.D. in economics from Kanazawa University, with specialies in foreign direct investment into Japan and how Japan's society and economy are changing in an increasingly globalized world
  • Steve Kulig, 2014 MPA, budget and policy analyst, Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Rebecca McAtee, 2010 MIPA and 2011 WWIG seminar graduate, deputy director, Bureau of Benefits Management, Wisconsin Medicaid Program
  • Dan Marlin, 2014 MPA, policy analyst, Value-Added Research Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Teague Mawer, 2012 MPA, budget and policy analyst, Wisconsin Department of Justice
  • Noah Natzke, 2012 MPA, program evaluator, Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau
  • Brian Quinn, 2010 MPA, budget and policy analyst, Wisconsin Department of Administration
  • Sylvia Ramirez, 2011 MPA, incoming budget director, Madison College
  • Gail Sumi, 2003 WWIG seminar graduate, member engagement and communications director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities