Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Signe Janoska-Bedi, MIPA

Signe Janoska-Bedi, MIPA

Undergraduate education
Bachelor of political science and classical humanities (comp. honors), UW–Madison, 2017

Professional/research interests
Defense policy; transatlantic policy

Accomplishments/achievements/honors
Trewartha Senior Thesis Grant; Truman Scholarship Finalist

Expected graduation date
May 2019

Why a MIPA?
After spending time involved in campaigning in Wisconsin, I realized that it is not enough to just advocate for your beliefs. Rather, it is necessary to do the work to improve government on the ground.

Why the La Follette School?
A friend recommended that I apply to the La Follette School and, wisely, I took the advice.

Career goals
I am interested in serving in the military and federal government, developing and improving public policy, and encouraging greater youth engagement in government issues.

How has the La Follette School set you on the path to meeting your career goals?
I have met a number of friends and mentors whose personal experiences have helped me better understand my personal vision for the future. Specifically, Rourke O’Brien’s course on Inequality, Race and Public Policy helped me develop an understanding of the policy-making process and how it is impacted by social factors. Mark Copelovitch’s course on International Governance also helped me learn about policy-making in intergovernmental institutions.

Teaching assistantship
Polisci 140: Introduction to International Relations (previous work)

Internship
I interned at the U.S. Government Accountability Office in Washington, DC, this past spring.

Primary job responsibilities
As an analyst at the GAO, I worked in a team environment to conduct research on defense policy and prepare a detailed report for Congress.

Sample internship project
One of my teams looked at pilot staffing levels across the Department of Defense and prepared a report that the GAO published: Collecting Additional Data Could Enhance Pilot Retention Efforts.

What experiences and skills helped you get the internship?
Experience in collaborative work environments was a major criterion for the internship opportunity. It seemed that the most successful interns were not necessarily the smartest but, instead, those most willing to learn and work hard.

Mentors
Matthew Smalley (MIPA ’17) and Dan Leopold (MPA ‘03) have provided invaluable professional guidance before and during my time at the La Follette School.

Advice for prospective La Follette School students
Work with professors one-on-one and organize a directed study if you have a unique research question.

Most challenging La Follette School experience
PA 818: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis

Most rewarding La Follette School experience
PA 818: Introduction to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis

How has the La Follette School changed the way you think about public policy?
The La Follette School has helped me develop a vocabulary for understanding policy issues as both a future policymaker and informed consumer.

Volunteer activities
I have served the Madison community through Badger Volunteers and with the REACH-A-Child organization. I also organized a service partnership between the Army ROTC program and Porchlight’s facility for veterans, where cadets participate in game nights and help with additional projects. As a former intern at the Morgridge Center for Public Service, I helped lead the 2017 All-Campus Day of Service and contributed to the development of a pilot program that pairs student organizations with Madison community partners to develop meaningful, long-term service relationships.

What prompted you to join ROTC? What has that experience meant to you?
When I was 12, I was injured and couldn’t play summer sports. Since I was stuck inside, I discovered a copy of Caesar’s Gallic Wars in my family’s library and, since then, have been determined to serve. I had the privilege to participate in ROTC courses at UW–Madison and Georgetown University during my time in DC, and to build a number of meaningful friendships with my fellow cadets.

People would be surprised if they knew that I …
Enjoy Golden-age Latin poetry and pop psychology.