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The Next Generation of APPAM

February 27, 2019 02:19 PM
Matt Stagner

by Matt Stagner, APPAM President

Politicians are fond of glib statements such as, “Children are the future of America!”  As a child policy researcher, I’ve never really minded that.  Anytime we can get leaders to talk about children, the better off we are. 

It may also be glib to say, “Students are the future of APPAM.”  But it is true, and it deserves to be said.  Ultimately, the torch will be passed to a new generation, and we want to help them prepare to carry forward APPAM’s focus on building evidence to improve policy and management.

As a professional organization, we are often focused on those who are already professionals practicing public policy and management research. Yet, let’s not neglect those who are at the doorstep of the profession.  Many of us see students daily, as we teach.  Pre-professional opportunities must also stretch beyond the classroom to internships and opportunities to present and critique their own research.

We have two great opportunities for the later for this coming up:  our DC Regional Student Conference at American University on March 29 – 30, 2019, and our California Regional Student Conference at the University of California, Irvine, on April 12 – 13, 2019.

I’m delighted that our student membership has grown to over 1,100.  We hope to make these conferences engaging opportunities for students in the DC and LA areas to interact, not only with each other but with more senior members of the profession.  If you are nearby, please try to attend these conferences and get to know some of our great new, and future, members.

Another opportunity to focus on the next generation is our upcoming Spring Conference, in Washington, DC, on May 14 and 15.  The title this year is Are We Preparing Our Students for Success? Employment Outlooks for Policy Graduate Students.  Mathematica is proud to host this event, and I encourage you, whether you teach or hire recent policy school grads, to attend and let your voice be heard around the challenges of public policy and management education in the 21st century.

Hubert Humphrey famously said, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life.”  I would paraphrase, to say that a moral test of our association is how we treat those who are at the dawn of their careers.  To those of you who are student members, thanks for being part of APPAM.  I hope you remain in the field and see APPAM as a permanent professional home.  To those of you were students in the past, remember those first few interactions that were central to your professional development and “pay it forward” for our great student members.

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