Bachelor’s degree in community and nonprofit leadership, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Affordable housing and gender equity
2015 Louise Troxell Award, 2015 Wisconsin Truman Scholar, 2016 Truman Summer Institute Fellow, 2016 Truman Governance Fellow, Verona City Council President
Why an MPA?
Becoming a parent forced me to take a closer look at what kind of world my daughter’s generation would inherit and inspired me to take a more active role in shaping policies. This journey began with volunteering for political campaigns in the 2008 election.
From there I volunteered to organize a health advocacy group that held social and educational events and took an active role in fundraising for my daughter’s school. These experiences equipped me with the necessary skills to take a more active role in the 2012 election by becoming a campaign fellow and subsequently running my own campaign for the Verona City Council in 2013.
Although my initial education trajectory focused on accounting and business, when I transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 2013 I pursued an undergraduate degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership through the School of Human Ecology. This inspired me to consider the public sector as a more fulfilling and interesting forum for achieving my professional and personal goals.
A master’s degree in public affairs will allow me to formalize the knowledge I’ve accumulated through work and volunteer experience into an invaluable asset when I enter the job market.
Why the La Follette School?
I chose the La Follette School because I plan to stay in the local community after graduation. La Follette coursework allows ample opportunity to increase my knowledge base of local issues and work with organizations in the area through project work. The accelerated program was another factor in my decision because it allowed me to increase the timeline by which I will earn my degree, which was a very attractive feature.
How did you find out about La Follette’s accelerated program and what prompted you to apply? In order to apply for the Truman Scholarship, the applicant must create a plan regarding the pursuance of a master’s degree. Because I was adamant about staying in the area, I researched La Follette’s program offerings. I found information regarding the accelerated program and thought it was such an attractive option that I applied for the program prior to the outcome of the scholarship application process.
I was a Truman Fellow at City First in Washington, D.C., and worked almost exclusively with the organization’s executive director, who is a Truman Scholar Alumnus. My job consisted of researching policies and projects regarding affordable housing and community-based financing. I prepared memos and supporting documents based on this research, which I provided to the executive director and other necessary parties. I was also able to garner experience writing and assembling different portions of grant proposals and prepared a statement of work all related to an innovative community land trust project the organization was embarking upon.
Which experiences and skills helped you get the internship?
My experience in municipal government along with strong communication and research skills were assets in obtaining this internship. I have had the opportunity to improve and strengthen these skills through coursework at La Follette.
My goal is to continue working in the public sector either through a managerial or analytical role within local government because I believe that this is the level where change can most effectively be enacted.
How have your La Follette School courses and/or experiences set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
Coursework at La Follette has equipped me with a strong foundation with which to tackle any policy challenge. I have also had the opportunity to explore topics that are of particular interest to my career goals, including infrastructure and the private sector perspective regarding environmental and social justice issues through a graduate certificate program offered by the business school.
The networking opportunities and feedback regarding professional development provided by the school have been particularly helpful in defining my career goals and supporting my career search.
What advice would you give to prospective La Follette School students?
I would tell prospective students to explore the campus and surrounding area. Madison represents a unique intersection of policy dynamics that allow for the exploration of many opportunities.
People would be surprised if they knew ...
In 2014, I became the Verona City Council’s first female president in its history.