Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, November 5, 2018

Elizabeth Janeczko, MPA

Elizabeth Janeczko Elizabeth Janeczko

Undergraduate education
Bachelor’s degree in political science, American University, 2007; master’s degree, teaching/secondary education, American University, 2009

Professional/research interests
Education and social policy

Expected graduation date
May 2019

Age
33

Why an MPA?

I was a high school teacher for 10 years in Washington, DC, and Kigali, Rwanda. As I grappled with how to balance the needs of all of my students, I realized that as good as a teacher as I was, I would never be able to have the kind of impact on the lives of my students as did the social and educational policies they interacted with on a daily basis. I realized that people become teachers as a second career, as a way to “help out.” But so few teachers make policymaking and government-level advocacy their second careers. I am here to try and change that.

Why the La Follette School?

I wanted the chance to explore the university. I am grateful I can take courses outside the La Follette School. I love the many elective classes I have taken outside of La Follete as much as the core La Follette classes. I have deeply benefitted from the perspective of non-La Follette students, and I’m always deepening my knowledge of how to think about policy from many angles.

Career goals

I want to be an advocate for my kids at the state and federal government level. I want to advocate for racial integration in public schools along with other much-needed, wide-spread educational policy change.

Teaching assistantship

I am a TA in the English as a Second Language Department, teaching academic writing. This has nothing whatsoever to do with what I hope will be my future career, but it is what I’m good at, and it takes care of tuition.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students

Be bold. Do what you would do if you were not afraid.

Most challenging experience at the La Follette School?

Statistics. I prefer words over numbers.

Life before La Follette

I was a high school teacher for 10 years before returning to graduate school. My career as a teacher has been incredibly formative to understanding how policy is implemented and handled in the real world.

Volunteer activities

This year, I picked up a writing/ reporting gig with Madison Commons, a publication from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. It is among the best things I’ve done at UW. I’m learning how to write about education policy as a journalist. The insight into the differing perspectives from a policy analyst and journalism is helping me forge a new understanding of public policy.