Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

News: Human Services

La Follette School Professor Pam Herd presented her winning proposal in AARP’s Policy Innovation Challenge during a forum convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance and AARP on October 19. The day-long event in Washington, D.C., explored new ideas in Social Security policy.

When La Follette School alum Craig Knutson took a position as assistant to the county administrator in 1979, he had no idea that 35 years later he'd be looking back on a lifelong career serving residents of Rock County in southern Wisconsin.

While Howard Mandeville was waiting for a meeting to start, he saw a woman he knew come into the lobby to let someone into her condo building. The significance would be lost on most people, but for Mandeville, a 1986 alum, the act summed up the social changes he has helped to forge throughout his career assisting people with disabilities to live independently in the community.

The opportunity to choose classes and explore possible career paths prompted Diana Rosales Mitte to change her study-abroad semester into a three-year stay — and then to pursue a Master of International Public Affairs.

Rachel Polster is mapping her future. The international public affairs student is spending the summer in Ecuador on a community development project to increase resident participation in the governance of Ibarra, a city of 110,000 people.

Debby Anderson Meyer does not like inefficiencies — particularly ones that keep her from building relationships with people.

Alum Jason Witt has won national recognition for his work to reduce disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system — the overrepresentation of minorities compared to their proportion of the general population.

An in-depth look by La Follette School students at services for frail older adults and people with physical and developmental disabilities is helping the Wisconsin Department of Health Services improve those services and the collection and organization of data.

The practicality of the La Follette School program has stood Grant Cummings in good stead. In his position as an analyst with the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Cummings finds he has used something from nearly every course he took at La Follette, even though he has been on the job for less than a year.

When Jake Schindler's partner at the small real estate brokerage firm mentioned his retirement plans, Schindler knew the time had come to think about a career change. He earned a master's degree in public affairs at the La Follette School in May 2010 and joined the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau shortly afterward.