Friday, October 13, 2017

Interview with Nick Hart: New Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative is designed to continue and expand the work of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, which outlined a vision that rigorous evidence can be created efficiently as a routine part of government operations. In turn, this evidence can be used to construct effective policy.

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DC Regional Student Conference Session: Friday Policy Career Paths Workshop

The session started with an overview from each of the speakers. They gave background information on how they began their public service careers and how they achieved their current positions. The workshop session speakers included Kimberly Arnold, Johns Hopkins University; Katrina Hubbard Dunlap, George Mason University; David Johnson, University of Michigan; Roberto Amorosino, The World Bank; Tom Barnett, Fairfax County Government; and Peter Reuter, University of Maryland.

Moderator Kimberly Arnold welcomed the presenters and attendees. She noted that the discussion would focus on key policy career attributes, the post-grad job skills needed, the hiring and recruiting process and how students should go about the career search.

In his opening remarks, APPAM President-Elect David Johnson advised student attendees to look for the little ways they could affect policy. He noted that students should involve themselves in policy and look for the ways they can make positive changes. He noted that APPAM allows people to showcase their work which is designed to make these positive policy changes and that participating in APPAM allows individuals to network and interact with those colleagues and professionals who bring a variety of insights to the policy field.
 
Mr. Johnson continued in his remarks to note three important tips for the career search:
  • Do your homework: know what you’re looking for (in a career) 
  • Know yourself: know what you would be comfortable doing and do that
  • Take chances: take the opportunities to talk to others in the policy field to expand your network and outlook.
Roberto Amorosino, of the World Bank, thanked attendees for joining the event. Mr. Amorosino noted that it’s very important to consider the option to connect with the target organization – and not only when we are seeking a job there. If we want to express our interest, we think the only way to do that is to apply, but there is a way to express our interest – that’s professional engagement. He noted that candidates should express that they share the particular organization’s passion and should make their interest of the work visible. He continued that individuals get more attention when they connect and demonstrate not only what they can offer, but if they can express that they understand what the target is doing.  Tell the story of how you can contribute to the target organization and demonstrate the familiarity with the organization - do your research.
 
Mr. Amorosino’s key takeaways included:
  • Make your shared passion known to the organization & show proof!
  • Share your interests with your peers to help build your network
  • Think of opportunities to present your interests – blog, research, works, etc.
Tom Barnett, of Fairfax County (VA) Government, opened his remarks by stating that he did not plan on being in policy, but ended up in every job because he fell into them. His passion is homelessness and he fell in love with social work and improving peoples’ lives using the strengths that they have.  He stated that there are few things better than changing someone’s life in a direct way.  He learned a lot about himself and the things that he liked and didn’t like and the type of places that I wanted to work in.  While he worked in non-profits he learned the life of an organization, and was able to think creatively.  After working in non-profits, Mr. Barnett joined Fairfax County Government 5 years ago. Mr. Barnett stated that local government Is where the rubber meets the road and local government gets things done with fewer resources. He believes that if you are going to change peoples’ lives, you need to affect policy.
 
Mr. Barnett had key advice for our student attendees when looking for a policy career:
  • Customize your resume to the job you are seeking
  • Memorize every task and responsibility of the position you are interviewing for
  • Make yourself memorable – say something to stand out – be bold!
Peter Reuter, of the University of Maryland, spoke to the student attendees about careers in academia. Mr. Reuter told attendees that tenure doesn’t apply when you are not in the academic career. While careers outside academia allow some flexibility, pursuing careers in academia functions a bit differently. He continued to note that public policy PhD programs are not a standard PHD program as policy schools can often become fragmented and segmented. He advised that students find a school which also offers other programs of interest, so that you are interested and engaged with the whole university.  
 
Mr. Reuter’s key advice for policy students who are seeking a career:
  • Make yourself as compatible as possible – reflect that on your resume
  • Ask questions during the interview – draft them in advance!
  • Don’t stay in academia if you are not interested in academia
 

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