From time to time, our members like to tell us why they joined the Association and what value they derive from their membership. If you'd like to share your thoughts, please contact Tristanne Staudt or Tara Sheehan.

Matt Stagner, Mathematica Policy Research

Matt_StagnerWhy did you become an APPAM member?
I joined APPAM in the early 1980s after receiving a masters degree and entering the policy research field. For me, it was a revelation to find the rich and diverse resources of the field--academics, government researchers, those from private research organizations--and to see them come together at the Fall Research Conference every year. APPAM helped me decide to pursue a Ph.D., and I have attended nearly every Fall Conference since the 80's. There was both a comfort factor (geez, people can do this for a living?!?) and a push factor (I was so impressed by some of the work and it challenged me to be better and learn more). I look forward to the Fall Research Conference every year and both seeing colleagues I work with often but also seeing old friends I rarely see. I also look forward to the increasing number of young people entering APPAM and getting a sense of the future of the field.
Why is an APPAM membership important for your career?
While technology has made it easier to stay connected, APPAM is like LinkedIn on steroids for the policy research community. APPAM helped me decide the type of training I wanted and helped me make connections for my first jobs post-Ph.D. But it has also proven to be a valuable resource throughout my career. Few of us will stay in the same organization for an entire career these days. The APPAM community is cross-cutting, providing a network of people with similar interests and a range of both friends and mentors who can help you get your job done as well as think about a career path.
The best part of an APPAM membership?
Being a member is important. Though some people connect with APPAM sporadically, I have found it valuable to be on-going member and to remain committed to looking at what is produced in JPAM and to attend the Fall Research Conference every year. This has strengthened my network and, importantly, provided a solid "baseline" on where the field is and a vision of where it is going. Policy research by its nature needs to be interactive rather than a solo activity. APPAM makes that easy. APPAM has helped me stay on track and focused on the most important issues in policy research.

Stagner is currently serving as Secretary on APPAM's Executive Council.

Cynthia Osborne, University of Texas at Austin

CynthiaOsborne_sm0_(3)Why did you become an APPAM member?

APPAM is the top professional organization for policy scholars and practitioners. I originally became a member of APPAM in graduate school so that I could attend the annual fall conference and present my work. An informational interview at the conference in 2004 actually led to my current job!

Why is an APPAM membership important for your career?

Being a member of APPAM provides a resource to connect me with other policy scholars and practitioners who are doing cutting-edge research in my field. JPAM and the annual conference are invaluable in terms of identifying the research that is relevant to policy makers and scholars.

The best part of an APPAM membership?

The annual conference is a great place to reconnect with colleagues and friends. I attend several professional conferences, but APPAM in unique in drawing together folks from a variety of disciplines who are interested in policy research and allows us a forum to speak a common language.

Osborne currently serves on the Association's Policy Council.

AnchorDonald Moynihan, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Why is APPAM important to you?

moynihanSQAPPAM is important for me because it is the venue that offers the strongest integration of scholarship that deals with all stages of the policy process, including policy design, implementation, and evaluation. Collectively, this offers a richer understanding of governance than is feasible by taking a purely disciplinary approach. The best part of being a member of APPAM is being challenged by other scholars who offer different perspectives and insights into the same governance issues that I care about.

Moynihan currently serves on the Association's Policy Council.