Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, March 26, 2018

40+ prospective students welcomed for Visit Day

40+ prospective students welcomed for Visit Day

More than 40 prospective students received a warm welcome from numerous La Follette School faculty members, staff, current students, and alumni March 19 during the school’s annual Visit Day. The La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) played a major role this year, partnering with the La Follette School to help defray the costs of attending Visit Day for several admitted students.

“Our fund-raising efforts generally support the students’ graduation ceremony and other causes that reflect our commitment to improving inclusion and reducing barriers to entry at La Follette,” said LSSA president Chris Meyers. This year, the students decided to use the proceeds from LSSA’s third Trivia Night on March 15 to help offset some of the costs for prospective students to participate in Visit Day.

“The Class of 2017 did such an amazing job with the first Trivia Night a year ago, that we decided to host a fall and spring event this year,” said LSSA Secretary Elgin Karls. “The La Follette School has cultivated an unmatched, tight-knit community, and we are excited to help make the school even more welcoming and inclusive.”

Visit Day began with Director and Professor Don Moynihan welcoming prospective students, including some participating via video conferencing, followed by Administrator and Career Services Coordinator Steve Kulig’s (MPA ’14) presentation about the school’s programs and curriculum.

Professor Menzie Chinn, Assistant Professor Rourke O’Brien, and Professor Susan Yackee shared information about their research and the courses they teach before four alumni offered their perspectives on career opportunities and life after La Follette. Alumni panelists were: Brett Halverson (MPA ’14), Malika Taalbi (MIPA ’14), Karina Virrueta (MPA ’17), and Jean-Rene Watchou (MIPA ’06). Taalbi participated via video conferencing from Washington, D.C., where she works.

Nine current students then participated in a round-robin with the prospective students before 12 of the school’s 18 core faculty joined the entire group for spirited conversations over lunch. Students Mikhaila Calice, Alison Harrell, Casey Hutchinson, Eric La Nguyen, Ryan LeCloux, Ruanda McFerren, Chris Meyers, Mia Nafziger, and Sangeetha Shreedaran led the round-robin discussions.

In the afternoon, prospective students had the opportunity to participate in an Introduction to Policy Analysis course, a walking tour of central campus, and a public panel discussion with Public Affairs Writer in Residence Matthew Yglesias and faculty members Mark Copelovitch and Pam Herd.

“These events help recruit outstanding new students and ensure that the La Follette School is at the heart of engaging public conversations on campus,” said Director and Professor Don Moynihan.

Current and visiting students later gathered at the Memorial Union for an evening reception, and several visiting students participated in classes and met with faculty members on Tuesday, March 20.

“I have been involved with numerous Visit Day activities across campus, but this was flawless because of the tremendous organization and execution by Student Services Associate David Wright-Racette," said Admissions & Advising Coordinator Mo O’Connor. “La Follette’s IT specialist, Andy Lambert, also was integral in determining an innovative way to help students from outside the United States participate via video conferencing.”