Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Friday, August 12, 2016

Mia Nafziger, MPA

Mia Nafziger, MPA

Expected graduation

Olympia, Washington

Undergraduate education
Bachelor of arts in economics and political science, minor in French, Western Washington University

Professional/research interests
Policy analysis, financial regulation

Magna cum laude at Western Washington University, named Outstanding Graduating Senior in Economics and Political Science Departments, graduate of University Honors Program, Department of Economics Academic Excellence Award, author of four reports at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, completed senior honors thesis on “The Public Policy of Financial Deregulation in the 1980s.”

Post-graduation plans and/or career goals
I hope to work in financial regulation, general policy analysis, or potentially begin a PhD program after I graduate from La Follette.

Why the La Follette School?
I was impressed by the academic reputation of La Follette, the professors and their research interests, the small cohort size, and the quantitative rigor of the program. My scholarship was ultimately the deciding factor. My award will allow me to graduate with an MPA from a top-notch program and minimal student debt. After I graduate, I will have the freedom to work in jobs that truly focus on public service, even if they pay less, because I won’t have to worry about quickly repaying huge student loans.

I also have heard great things about Madison, so I thought it would be a fun place to live. As a capitol city, Madison can also offer internships and hands-on policy analysis experience.

Why an MPA?
My research experience at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy first exposed me to policy analysis and showed me the important role that policy analysis plays in decision-making for policymakers. My work there also showed me that I still have some gaps in my quantitative analysis skills that I’d like to work on. In addition, while working on my undergraduate thesis, I realized that I enjoy an interdisciplinary approach to research and analysis, as opposed to pure economics, political science, or statistics. Public policy research fuses many of these disciplines together.

What skills do you hope to learn at the La Follette School?
I hope to improve my quantitative skills, both so that I can better understand and conduct statistical analyses. I also have a lot to learn about writing for policymakers and the general public. I can use all of these skills as a future researcher in public policy.

How/why is public service important to you?
Public service is one of the most important ways we can bring about social changes and improve the economic and political state of our country. Ideally, work in public service can be nonpartisan and avoid the influences of special interests, thus, working directly for citizens in this country and all over the world.

What are your career goals?
I’m still exploring my possible career options, hoping to transition away from my current work in meta-analysis. I’m potentially interested in financial and regulatory policy, such as for the Department of Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or Congressional Committees. I’m also interested in general policy analysis and research, for the Congressional Budget Office or a think tank such as Pew Charitable Trusts. Finally, I’m still open to eventually going on to get my doctorate whether in public policy, political science, or another field.