Fall Research Conference


2018 Student Resources


Evidence for Action:
Encouraging Innovation and Improvement

November 8 - 10, 2018  | Washington Marriott Wardman Park |  Washington, DC

The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary annual research conference that attracts the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. The conference is comprised of panels, roundtables, and poster presentations and is designed to encourage substantive interaction among participants.

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 is what we have planned for the conference:

Professional Development Sessions

Developing and Strengthening Your Toolset: Creating Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships with Nonprofits to Foster Innovative, Evidence-Based Programming

Graduate students have skills that can be useful for community-based organizations, in areas such as grant writing, evaluation, and policy research. This session will discuss how graduate students can market their skills and develop partnerships with community-based organizations that are beneficial to both parties. Based on examples from the presenters’ past experiences the session provides practical advice that will help students understand issues including: how to balance work and school, how to talk about work conducted outside of the school setting (e.g., during interviews), and how to lay the foundation for turning community partnerships into jobs after graduation. It will also present the organizational perspective, including the advantages of working with graduate students, and how to recruit the right student(s) for your project. This session is closely related to this year’s conference theme of “Evidence for Action: Encouraging Innovation and Improvement” in that collaborations between graduate students and organizations are often innovative and help build organizational capacity while students strengthen skills and gain experience.

Thursday, November 8
8:30 am 10:00 am
Location: 8209

It's in the Approach: Effectively Communicating Your Research and Evaluation Plan to Field a Competitive Proposal Proposals are a constant in the professional landscape. You will write them (all or part), revise them, and/or oversee their construction and submission. Because funding applications have in-creased while funding dollars have remained flat for the past 20 years, competition is stiffer than ever. The national average for federal awards is roughly 12%. That means only 1 out of every 8 ap-plications gets funded. Ironically, creating a non-competitive proposal takes almost as much effort as creating a competitive one.  

Understanding how best to approach the process, especially if you are new to the field, will help it be less overwhelming. It will also increase your chances for success. The same is true for research and evaluation plans. As the importance of evidence-based decision policy making increases, so too does the need to concentrate on planning—at the front-end. Policy creates programs, and proposals that promise to generate better evidence will win out over those that do not. 
Thursday, November 8
8:30 am 10:00 am
Location: 8226

Translating Research into Policy

How can we translate academic research into real-world policy? In this panel, we explore ways that researchers can help policymakers, voters, and stakeholders understand and make decisions based on their research findings. Our panelists for this session come from a variety of backgrounds, and provide insight from the perspective of both academics and policymakers.

Topics to be discussed include 1) how to identify audiences for your work, 2) strategies for connecting with local, state, and federal policymakers, and 3) how to effectively and efficiently communicate with policymakers, both orally and in writing. We will also address ways to identify alternate audiences or communication methods for your work if your initial audience is not receptive, or if policy suggestions are not initially implemented.

Thursday, November 8
10:15 am – 11:45 am
Location: 8226
Non-Academic Career Paths: Evaluation in Government A panel of researchers and evaluators will discuss a range of career opportunities within different government agencies. Discussants will represent offices at the federal, state, and local level, and the types of evaluations they work on range from rapid cycle experiments to multi-year, large-scale demonstration projects. Discussants will describe their background in evaluation, why they decided to pursue a career path in the government, and the types of projects their organizations work on. Discussants also will talk about what types of background and experience they look for in applicants and give participants advice and tips for successfully navigating the government job search process. This session is targeted at master’s students and graduates with some professional experience, PhD candidates, recent PhD graduates, and early career tenure track academics interested in careers in program evaluation.
Friday, November 9
8:30 am 10:00 am
Location: 8226

Where are the Policy Jobs
and How Do I Get One?
What is the number one thing on public policy students’ minds? Where they will be getting a job after graduation! This practical session will help students better understand their employment options and tactics to help improve their hireability. The panelists will share their extensive hiring and management experience across public, private, and nonprofit programs and policy organizations. This panel consists of a policy expert who manages large research projects and regularly hires and mentors recent graduates, a recent graduate of a public policy Master’s program who successfully navigated the job search process, a human resource professional who screens and hires a high volume of recent graduates, and a student currently interning at a public policy firm and preparing to enter the job market.
Friday, November 9
10:15 am 11:45 am
Location: 8226

Quantitative Methods for Complex Policy Problems

Complex public policy problems can arise under different conditions such as issues that cut across many sectors with many stakeholders, deep uncertainty about the future, changing social networks and emergent behavior. To solve these types of policy problems, there are several quantitative approaches used in practice. The aim of this panel is to explore some of these quantitative approaches used to address complex policy problems and provide examples of the methods currently used in practice by both academics and practitioners. In this panel, we will explore micro simulation, network analysis, robust decision making and qualitative comparison analysis. We will also discuss emergent methods and resources for tackling complex policy problems.

Friday, November 9
3:15 pm – 4:45 pm
Location: 8226
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Voices in Policy Research Broad participation matters in the policy process. Given the wide array of policy endeavors affecting, and indeed targeting, underrepresented minority groups, effective policy research should carefully attend to what these minority groups have to say. This session addresses ways policy research can be attentive to voices of underrepresented minority groups. The session aims include: discussing some of the existing work on diversity and inclusion within policy research, illustrating how policy research can be used to serve minority communities, and considering how scholars from minority backgrounds can leverage their personal insight to inform their research.
Saturday, November 10
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Location: 8224


Mentor Matching Program Meetup

Date and Time: Thursday, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Designated space in Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level

Participants in the 2018 mentoring program are invited to connect at this meetup. Enjoy food and drink from the Welcome Reception, network with fellow participants, and meet your mentor/mentee in person.

Equity & Inclusion Fellowship

The Equity & Inclusion Fellowship was created in 2016 in an effort to encourage participation by underrepresented students in APPAM and its activities. The goal of this fellowship program is to introduce recipients to the world of public policy and APPAM, and foster a lifelong affiliation and engagement with both.

The fellowship supports the travel and participation of up to 40 students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds at the 2018 APPAM Fall Research Conference. Information about the Fellowship is available here.

Fellowship Meetup

Date and Time: Thursday, November 8 from 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Lincoln 1 - Exhibit Level

Exclusive to the fellowship recipients, this new event offers another opportunity for fellows to meet and network.

Fellowship Luncheon

Date and Time: Friday, November 9 from 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Location: Thurgood Marshall West - Mezz Level

The recipients of the 2018 APPAM Equity & Inclusion Fellowship are invited to formally network with each other and members of the Policy Council during this luncheon. Recipients will be recognized for their accomplishments and bright futures.

John_KingThe program will start with a welcome from APPAM President, David Johnson, University of Michigan, followed by the presentation of awards by APPAM Diversity Committee Chair, John Martinez, MDRC. John B. King, Jr., President and CEO of The Education Trust, and previously secretary of education for President Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote address for all attendees. The event is by invite only.

Thank you to our luncheon sponsors:


Policy PhD Program Fair

Date and Time: Friday, November 9 from 12:00pm - 1:15pm 
Location: Thurgood Marshall East - Mezz Level

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. A light lunch is available at this fair.

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

Student Lounge

Date and Time: Thursday, November 8 - Saturday, November 10
Location: Lincoln 1 - Exhibit Level

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 9 from 7:45 - 9:15pm
Location: Stone's Throw Restaurant

Students and recent graduates are encouraged to attend the annual APPAM Student Mixer. The event will be an informal opportunity to network and collaborate with other student attendees. Wine, beer, and hors d'oeuvres will be provided. All student conference attendees, senior scholars, exhibitors and organizations interviewing at the Fall Research Conference are invited to attend.

Student Networking Group

Looking for other student attendees to connect with at the conference? 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 Ryan Martz, Membership & Administration Manager, at rmartz@appam.org.