Sarah Cordes, New York University
Student Update: Spring 2014
June 11, 2014 09:00 AM
Happy summer! I hope that all of you had a productive and smooth end of the semester. I just wanted to take this time to briefly fill you in on some APPAM developments that are of particular interest to the student membership. I attended my first APPAM Policy Council meeting held during the APPAM Spring Conference in April. For those of you who are more unfamiliar with the Spring Conference, this year’s theme was Teaching Policy Analysis and Management in Today’s Classroom. The topics of panels ranged from What Competencies and Qualities Do Employers Seek in MPA and MPP Graduates? to Preparing for the Era of Big Data. If you did not have the opportunity to attend, several of the panels are posted here on the APPAM website and I encourage you to take a look. (You can also read Rutger's Becky Kelleman's summaries on a few different sessions.)
I could not have felt more welcomed by my fellow members of the Policy Council and can assure you that all of the council members are keenly interested in increasing student participation and engagement in the organization. We discussed what services or benefits of APPAM membership might prove most useful to our student members. Along these lines, a working group was created and charged with the task of examining the Ph.D. in public policy and its interactions with the labor market. For those of you who, like me, will be entering the job market in the near future, this could not come at a better time. I’m sure by now you have learned that it can be difficult to market yourself as a “public policy Ph.D.,” so it is very encouraging that APPAM is committed to helping policy Ph.D.s market themselves. The Communications Committee has agreed to work with this new group to consider putting videos of job candidates on the APPAM website and generally explore more ways that APPAM can facilitate the job search process. As another potential benefit to students, the Membership Committee put forth a proposal to develop a workshop geared toward MPA/MPP students that would focus on employment.
In addition to its more student-focused work, the Policy Council is working on a number of initiatives to improve the organization. For example, there was a lively discussion regarding the best way to disseminate the research being conducted by APPAM members. Some of the suggestions included developing a publication outlet separate from JPAM that would be geared more toward the research that APPAM members undertake or for more popular press type pieces that members generate. As the year progresses, the Policy Council will continue to discuss how APPAM can continue to serve its members.
On a brief closing note, I just want to take the time to encourage you to get involved in opportunities like internships, local school chapters/clubs, APPAM, etc over the summer. While it may be too late to apply for internships, you can still try to get involved in the policy community through volunteering and meet-up groups. If you are looking for events, the APPAM website is a great resource. Check it out, you might have the chance to learn something new and meet some interesting people!