Fall Research Conference


2017 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. 

To Get a PhD Degree or
Not Get a PhD Degree?

Attention Masters students!  Have you considered a PhD degree but are not quite sure what getting the degree entails? Have you wondered what the differences between public policy, public affairs and public administration really are, and what that means for you?  Are you unsure what kind of job a PhD degree holder might be able to get?  If you’ve ever considered a PhD or are enrolled in a Master’s degree program and want some information from those in the know, this session is for you.


  • Joe Cordes, George Washington University (Moderator)
  • Shawn Bushway, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy
  • Rachel Swanger, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Thursday, November 2  
10:15am - 11:45am 

Location: Water Tower

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

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 (Moderator)
  • Laura Peck, Abt Associates
  • Shelly Ver Ploeg, USDA, Food Assistance Branch, Food Economics Division
  • Chris Wodicka, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis

Thursday, November 2  
1:45pm - 3:15pm 

Location: Skyway 269

Academic Career Tracks for Policy Students

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 (Moderator)
  • Anjali Adukia, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy 
  • Shawn Bushway, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy
  • Kit Carpenter, Vanderbilt University

Thursday, November 2  
3:30pm - 5:00pm 

Location: Skyway 269

Ask the Experts Roundtable Session: Career Transition and Job Documents Review
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 experts may be found here.
Session One: 8:30 – 9:10am 
  • Dominique Baker, Southern Methodist University
  • Carolyn Hill, MDRC
  • Jeff Lubell, Abt Associates 
  • Rob Santillano, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Kosali Simon, Indiana University
Session Two: 9:20 – 10:00am  
  • Seth Gershenson, American University
  • Bob Kaestner, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Andrew McEachin, RAND Corporation
  •  Elizabeth Mann, Brookings Institution
  • Cynthia Osborne, University of Texas at Austin  

Moderator: Luis Rodriguez, PhD Student, Vanderbilt University

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.

Friday, November 3  
8:30am - 10:00am 

Location: Gallery Lounge
(Student Lounge)

Unpacking RFPs, Proposals, and Evaluation Plans to Secure Grant Funding: Not as Bad as You Think
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, (Moderator)
  • Jacqueline Singh, Qualitative Advantage, LLC
  • Geoffrey Pollock, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Erin Foster, Indiana University

Friday, November 3  
10:15am - 11:45am 

Location: Skyway 269

The (Slide) Doctor Is In! Giving Better Presentations
This session will take an in-depth look at best practices in presentation skills among the policy community. Speakers will discuss the importance of developing, designing, and delivering your most effective presentation, as well as how to use those skills to effectively communicate your research findings to the policy world and how to highlight those skills to give yourself a competitive edge as you enter the field.
  • David Morar, George Mason University (Moderator) 
  • Jonathan Schwabish, Senior Fellow, Urban Institute
If you would like the opportunity to have your presentation slides reviewed during the session for tips on how to boost their effectiveness, please contact Meghan Grenda at mgrenda@appam.org.

Friday, November 3  
1:30pm - 3:00pm 

Location: Skyway 269

Using Research to Build Better Public Policy: Tips for Working with State Legislators and Other Policymakers
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 (Moderator)
  • Hilary Shager, University of Wisconsin 
  • Vivian Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation

Friday, November 3  
3:15pm - 4:45pm

Location: Skyway 269



Mentor Matching Program

Are you a student attending the 2017 Fall Research Conference and looking for support in career development, personal development, and networking?  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. 

View the mentors here!  

Registration for this program is now closed.  To be placed on a wait list, please email mgrenda@appam.org.   

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. 

Policy PhD Program Fair

Date and Time: Friday, November 3 from 12:00pm - 1:15pm 
Location: Crystal A 

Come meet individually with PhD program representatives and learn about the differences between programs, what being a PhD student is like, what courses a particular program offers and what kinds of benefits and services are offered to students.  Talk to staff from programs across the country and get more information on whether a PhD program might be the right choice for you. 

The PhD Program Fair is open only to students not currently enrolled in a PhD program and professionals who do not hold a PhD.

Participating Programs:

  • American University – School of Public Affairs
  • Brandeis University – The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
  • Claremont Graduate University
  • George Washington University – Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – School of Public Policy
  • Georgia State University – Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
  • Maastricht University/ UNU-MERIT
  • Pardee RAND Graduate School
  • Syracuse University – Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
  • University at Albany – Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Massachusetts – Boston
  • University of Minnesota – Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • University of Missouri – Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs
  • University of Washington – Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • University of North Carolina – Charlotte
  • University of Texas – Dallas
  • Virginia Commonwealth University – L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Student Mixer

Date and Time: Friday, November 3 from 7:45 - 9:15pm
Location: Student Lounge (Gallery Lounge) 

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.

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