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APPAM 2017 Fall Conference Student Resources



Students are an important part of APPAM. Because we value your contributions to the association, we've planned student specific events to be held during the Fall Research Conference. Professional development sessions, networking opportunities with policy experts, and student attendee meets-up are what you can look forward to. Here's what's planned for the conference:

Professional Development Sessions for Students

This year’s sessions will feature a series of panels with experts from a variety of professional fields to provide students with advice on their careers, both as students and after graduation. Sessions will include tips for grant writing, presentation skills & data visualization, and bridging the gap between graduation and policy practice. 


Bridging the Gap Between Graduate School and Your Non-Academic Policy Career Path 

Thursday, November 2  
1:45pm - 3:15pm 
Location: Skyway 269

Hear from experts in non-academic sectors on how recent graduates can use the skills learned in school to better disseminate and apply their work in the real (policy) world.  Policy professionals will share their experiences and helpful pointers students can use to bridge the gap between graduate school and their policy career path.


  • Lisa Zingman, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Chair)
  • Laura Peck, Abt Associates
  • Shelly Ver Ploeg, USDA, Food Assistance Branch, Food Economics Division
  • Chris Wodicka, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis

Academic Career Tracks for Policy Students

Thursday, November 2  
3:30pm - 5:00pm 
Location: Skyway 269

This session will provide an overview of the academic career track from applying through the tenure process.  Topics such as academic job search process and timing, strategies and resources for landing an academic position, and tips for navigating the tenure process will be covered.    


  • Kathryn Yeager, George Washington University (Chair)
  • Shawn Bushway, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy
  • Kit Carpenter, Vanderbilt University
  • Dylan Conger, George Washington University
  • Angela Evans, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

Ask the Policy Experts

Friday, November 3  
8:30am - 10:00am 
Location: Gallery Lounge (Student Lounge)

The Ask the Experts Roundtable Discussions will provide an opportunity for students to meet with professionals to discuss a variety of career-related topics. Experienced academic professionals and practitioners with work experience in both academic and non-academic sectors will be available in the student lounge to candidly speak with students in small groups about their career paths as well as briefly review student résumés, CVs, cover letters, or research statements for useful tips.

A full list of policy experts may be found here.  

Luis Rodriguez, PhD Student, Vanderbilt University, luis.a.rodriguez@vanderbilt.edu

If you would like for an expert to review a job document (e.g., CV, cover letter, research statement), we ask that you please register in advance and limit the review to one document.  To register for this session please email Meghan Grenda at mgrenda@appam.org.  


Unpacking RFPs, Proposals, and Evaluation Plans to Secure Grant Funding: Not as Bad as You Think

Friday, November 3  
10:15am - 11:45am 
Location: Skyway 269

In this session attendees will learn about a healthy, holistic perspective on proposals and the funding process, how to dissect an RFP without losing your mind, how to understand the difference between writing for publication vs. funding, and where to look/who to ask for input on evaluation plans.


  • Agustina Laurito, University of Illinois – Chicago, (Chair)
  • Jacqueline Singh, Qualitative Advantage, LLC
  • Geoffrey Pollock, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Erin Foster, Indiana University

Slide Doctor & Data Visualization

Friday, November 3  
1:30pm - 3:00pm 
Location: Skyway 269

This session will take an in-depth look at best practices in data visualization and presentation skills among the policy community. Jon Schwabish, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, will discuss the importance of perfecting your data viz skills, how to use those skills to effectively communicate your research findings to the policy world, and how to highlight these skills to give yourself a competitive edge as you enter the field.
Students and newer professionals will also have the opportunity to submit their presentation slides in advance to learn how to boost their effectiveness during the session. 

Using Research to Build Better Public Policy: Tips for Working with State Legislators and Other Policymakers

Friday, November 3  
3:15pm - 4:45pm
Location: Skyway 269

In this session, students will learn lessons from the William T. Grant Foundation’s portfolio of research, strategies for making their research “policymaker ready”, and strategies for cultivating research-practice partnership and immersive fellowship experiences.  In addition, presenters will provide tips for bridging the cultural divide between academia and policymakers, including how to build relationships, how to utilize an education versus advocacy approach to share research, and how to make written and visual research deliverables more user-friendly.


  • Heidi Normandin, University of Wisconsin (Chair)
  • Hilary Shager, University of Wisconsin 
  • Kim DuMont, William T. Grant Foundation


APPAM Equity and Inclusion Fellowship

In an effort to encourage participation by underrepresented students in APPAM and its activities, the Policy Council and APPAM’s Diversity Committee created the ‘APPAM Equity and Inclusion Fellowship’ in April 2016.

The fellowship will support the travel and participation of up to 35 students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds at the 2017 APPAM Fall Research Conference, November 2-4, in Chicago, Illinois.  Information about the Fellowship is available here.

Student Lounge

Date and Time: Thursday, November 2 - Saturday, November 4
Location: Gallery Lounge

Looking for a spot to charge your mobile device, relax, and grab a quick snack? Come visit the Student Lounge!  Charging stations, refreshments, and seating areas will be available for students to network with other students, schedule time to meet with professionals, or answer a few quick emails. 

Student Mixer

Date and Time: Friday, November 3 from 7:45 - 8:15pm
Location: Plaza Ballroom

Student attendees are invited to an informal meetup to mingle and enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres during this networking event just for students!  

Student Attendee Networking Group

Are you an APPAM student member attending the 2017 Fall Research Conference and looking for other student attendees to connect with?  Please join the APPAM Student Member E-List to connect with fellow students who share similar policy interests.

APPAM will post student specific conference information such as student-only conference events, special student programming, and ideas to connect with other attendees in this forum. To join this E-List please log into your APPAM Member Profile, select My Profile & Invoices, Features, and then select the Student Member E-List to begin receiving updates.  For more information on APPAM member E-Lists please visit here.

Mentoring Matching Program

Would you like to meet with experienced policy professionals during the 2017 Fall Research Conference?  Then the APPAM Mentor Matching Program is right for you!

The mentor matching program will match student attendees with policy experts to connect one-on-one during the conference.  Mentors will be available to offer advice on professional development issues, examine job search strategies, discuss research projects and ideas, and answer any questions students may have as they approach graduation. 

Interested in meeting with a mentor?  It's easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Register for the 2017 Fall Research Conference
  2. Select the top three mentors you would like to meet with during the conference and email their names to Meghan Grenda
  3. Get excited to connect one-on-one with policy experts during the conference!

View the mentors here!  

This program requires advance registration.  To register for this event, please follow steps 1 - 3 listed above.  

For questions please contact Meghan Grenda, Membership & Administration Manager, at mgrenda@appam.org.  

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