Benefits

To really understand public policy, it is important to go beyond classroom learning.

For that reason, all PPRS students are guaranteed funding for policy-related summer internships, and they are encouraged to gain experience in public policy research by working as a research assistant for a faculty member on campus.

Students receive help from the PPI Managing Director, Andrew Coopersmith, and the Associate Director of Student Programs, Ben Schneider, in identifying RA opportunities and applying for summer internships, and get specialized training in statistical research packages such as R and Stata, to help them build critical analytical skills.

Additional perks include: being in a community of like-minded students; priority for research opportunities; priority for the DC Industry Exploration Program; priority seating for special events; as well as exposure to high-profile speakers such as Ezra Klein.

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In Their Own Words

  • Stephanie Aliaga
    School: Wharton

    How did your interest in public policy develop?

    I first became interested in the intersection of policy and finance when I worked for a tax accounting firm in high school and discovered the impact that government tax policies had on client’s everyday lives. During my freshman year at Penn, I became involved with the student association to the Wharton Public Policy Initiative where I devoted articles to researching, analyzing, and providing solutions to fiscal and monetary policy issues. My interest in policy grew even more this past summer when I worked at the Department of Commerce and saw how trade policy can increase GDP, augment job growth, and fight poverty worldwide.
    I view every policy issue as multi-dimensional—there are many externalities to every policy decision, as there are many stakeholders to every corporate decision—and I have strived to consolidate various interests, values, and stakes of different parties to advocate for solutions that serve to increase the social and economic utility amongst all participating parties.
    I aspire to utilize my Wharton education to become a pioneer for economic reform, create policies that would maximize employment, battle inflation, and manage long-term growth. While my professional life will likely not begin in government, I am hopeful that I will later serve my country in an advisory role on economic policy to make a positive impact on America and the world.

    What do you enjoy about being part of the PPRS community?

    As a Wharton student who initially didn’t understand her place at Penn, I have greatly enjoyed being a part of a cohort of students who come from all backgrounds of study, with various career goals, but with the same passion in public policy and public service. Through PPRS, I have been able to harness my interest in the intersection of finance and economic policy further by applying this knowledge to larger, market-based issues in my finance and BEPP classes. These experiences have equipped me to serve in a better capacity in the financial services industry by having a unique perspective of economic policy’s effect on macroeconomic trends.

  • Lauren Anders
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to pursue PPRS?

    There are two reasons why I pursued PPRS: personal interest and societal impact. I first became interested in public policy as a delegate to the Missouri Youth in Government Conference for five years and the Conference on National Affairs for three years. At these conferences, I enjoyed writing and debating public policy proposals with 600 delegates of varying political ideologies. I was eager to work with my peers to find creative solutions to the varying problems facing our society. Beyond pure interest, I believe it is important to have a firm understanding of public policy due to its large societal impact. Every policy enacted by our government affects both individuals and corporations. I hope to utilize my Wharton education and my knowledge of public policy to make and advocate for policy decisions that provide the highest utility to all societal actors.

    What do you want to do in the future?

    I am currently pursuing a career in consulting or business strategy. I hope to utilize my strong knowledge of technology policy provided through PPRS to provide strategic and innovative insight to technology and telecommunications companies. Eventually, I would like to get a PhD in Economics and work for the government in an advisory role for technology or economic policy.

  • Seetha Aribindi
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “This past summer, I took a hands-on approach to learning about policy as a legislative intern for Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). One of the long-term projects I worked on centered on maternal mortality which, despite a noted decline in every other developed nation in the world, is on the rise here in the United States. Despite the Centers for Disease Control classifying sixty percent of these deaths as preventable, national policy has yet to be implemented. While looking at the legislation currently proposed, I noticed that solutions currently working on the ground were largely unaccounted for. In PPRS, I hope to learn about reframing policy to assess its impact in terms of its lowest common denominator: the individual. The PPRS program gives me the space to quantitatively analyze how policies can target society’s most pressing problems without losing sight of who they are designed to help.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “The problems which excite me the most occur in the field of healthcare. How should pharmaceutical companies price their medications? How should cities address the opioid epidemic? How should the government respond to rising healthcare costs? Each of these questions is relevant for health policy, but they all center on distinct relationships between different players. Regulatory policy aiming to answer these questions will undoubtedly shape the industry landscape on a macro level. However, to understand a policy’s true impact, I believe we should also examine how it alters stakeholder relationships. Outside of Penn, I am a research assistant for a clinical trial in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Behavioral Oncology Lab. Working on this trial has allowed me to experience firsthand how some of these relationships play out on the micro level. Through the PPRS curriculum, I want to learn how policy interventions modify relationships at all levels of healthcare. As I continue engaging with policy, I hope to better understand the implications it holds for society.”

  • Augie Benjamin
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “In addition to structuring my coursework at Penn, the PPRS community is a petri dish for innovative thought. After reading the biographies of current PPRS students, I felt assured in my decision to apply to the program. Their breadth and depth of interests mirrors the diversity I was pleased to encounter at Penn. As public policy is a collaborative effort, I hope to make use of every opportunity to learn from them.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I believe public policy would complement my planned course of study, offering a practical application of what I learn in class. While Penn has an abundance of resources, it lacks a department or major in public policy. I would like to rely on the PPRS curriculum to provide that direction. Furthermore, the PPRS program will help me translate what I learn in class to the research I hope to conduct outside of class through its statistical training and capstone course. I hope that learning about the policymaking process will come to define a significant part of my Penn career, and the PPRS experience offers a clear opportunity for learning in and out of class.”

  • Alexa Breyfogle
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to apply for to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    Throughout high school and my first year here at Penn, I was really involved with social justice work and activism. As I began to invest more and more time into the movement, I realized that in the people I was surrounding myself with, there was no understanding of compromise or baby steps. I also learned change isn’t effected overnight. As I reevaluated my own understanding of the world, I realized that if I really wanted to make a difference, I needed to gain greater knowledge of how policy really works.

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Easily the most attractive aspect of being part of PPRS is being a member of this particular community of people. During policy debate, I most valued being surrounded by people who also valued and cared about politics and public policy, and I have been searching for that fellowship throughout my time at Penn. I hope to find people who want to casually have a conversation about the recent legislation making its way through the government on a level deeper than criticizing the party that is advocating for it. The classes required for PPRS provide an additional background of information and kinship among the scholars in the program so discussions are a place to test ideas and theories among peers with some common background of understanding. Given the fact that the majority of my courses at Wharton are taken with people committed to entering the private sector, I highly value finding a group that is committed to or is considering entering government work.”

  • Saxon Bryant
    School: Wharton, College of Arts & Sciences

    What interests you about public policy?

    “My passion for public policy began in high school, as I studied and debated policy in Speech and Debate and Youth in Government. I gained a greater appreciation for how everything from international conflict to domestic tax changes influenced the world around me. I carried that appreciation with me to Wharton and the Public Policy Initiative Student Group where I could continue learning more about questions which interested me. By engaging with important issues of economic reform, foreign affairs, and financial governance, I learned the role policy making can have in doing good. I was drawn to the meticulous nature of public policy research. I fell in love with the ability to utilize analytical skills, pragmatic thinking, and logical problem solving to reach a conclusion that could improve someone’s quality of life.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “While Penn provides many opportunities to explore my academic curiosity, I believed the PPRS program would help me connect all the important aspects of policy scholarship such as research, statistical analysis, and written methodology. Penn Wharton PPI helps me combine my disparate interests in economics, policy, business, and law underneath a single framework to explore different policy issues and contribute to public service. I was particularly excited by the fact that PPRS helps connect students to research roles and internships to provide real world research experience. By gaining this hands-on experience with analytical work, I can better understand how to use policy and political systems as tools for positive change.”

    Q:

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “To gain the ability to turn my curiosity surrounding policy matters into answers. I want to understand the issues that the United States and other countries face and how I can apply what I am learning to make a positive impact. There will always be new questions and new challenges in public policy. The learning process does not stop once I graduate. PPRS emphasizes continuous learning and academic engagement, values which will be critical to effective public policy. Through rigorous training in both qualitative and quantitative methods, I hope to hone my knowledge of domestic and foreign policy. Because of PPRS, I do not have to wait to meaningfully contribute to unconsidered and unanswered policy questions. I can start now.”

  • John Casey
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “After spending a whole year at Wharton, I have found that there are distinct segments of business students. There are the future entrepreneurs: the kids who want to start their businesses. There are the Wolves of Wall Street: kids who will go straight to bulge bracket banks and hedge funds. And then there is a third segment: the public policy kids. By virtue of being in the Public Policy Initiative Student Group, Penn Democrats, and the Penn Political Review, I have gotten to know many of my Public Policy-interested peers. At Penn, the public policy students are the ones who know what is going on in the world, and they are the ones I talk to when I want to share my opinion or hear opposing ones. By being a part of the Public Policy Research Scholars, I’m with an entire group of public policy nerds, having to transverse the same rigorous PPRS curriculum. That is pretty appealing.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “My initial passion for public policy came as a result of my extensive experience abroad. I see the Public Policy Research Scholars as an opportunity to inject some international studies into my academic trajectory that concentrates heavily on economics and domestic public policy. I want to tailor my future research to be at the intersection of foreign, fiscal, and public policy.

    PPRS fits perfectly with a more immediate academic career goal of mine: research. As a Joseph Wharton Scholar, I have spent the last year considering topics that I would like to investigate. In keeping with my interest in foreign and fiscal policy, I would love to evaluate the coupling of US military might and economic prowess.”

  • Ryan DelGaudio
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What interests you about public policy?

    “I have always had an extremely strong interest in public policy and international affairs. Looking back upon my experiences throughout high school, I realize my motivation for each of my activities stems from an insatiable desire to learn and better understand the world around me, oftentimes through the context of public policy, economics, and history.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “As a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, I was enrolled in the rigorous Integrated Studies Program, where I examined how various disciplines approach issues and problems differently. I particularly enjoyed the interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving the program instilled. After gaining valuable skills in synthesis through the Integrated Studies Program, I would like to refine these abilities further by focusing on multifaceted approaches to trade policy through the Public Policy Research Scholars Program. I look forward to studying the program’s curriculum with both its quantitative and qualitative approaches.

    Yet, the opportunity to study within a community of individuals passionate about government and policy is what excites me most about being a Public Policy Research Scholar. Throughout my academic career, I believe my peers and my instructors have made the greatest impact on my personal growth. Learning about trade policy within a cohort of my peers studying a variety of other subjects will not only challenge me to further dedicate myself to my own policy interests and research, but also inspire me to learn more about their areas of concern.”

  • Jordan Dewar
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar

    “One of the major reasons I applied to Penn was the multidisciplinary potential of the Penn curriculum. Ever since I was young, I’ve had a passion for government and politics, but all the majors in government, international relations, or political science tended to oversimplify the economic aspect of policymaking. PPRS combines the areas of policymaking and quantitative analysis in a way that will allow me to better understand the intersection of economics and governmental affairs.”

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “I hope to work either in the military or the public sector. For both of these paths, the experience I’ll gain from PPRS is essential. PPRS will assist me in establishing a strong basis in the fundamentals of public policy, which I can then build on when I go to graduate school.”

  • Sarina Divan
    School: Wharton

    What interests you about public policy?

    “My initial interest in public policy was sparked by my experience with the Girl Up campaign of the United Nations Foundation. As a Teen Advisor for this girls’ empowerment campaign, I learned about the role of American foreign policy and initiatives on the lives of adolescent girls around the world. Through Girl Up, I had my first real exposure to policymaking as I lobbied on Capitol Hill for bills that would improve girls’ access to education globally. Building upon my passion for advocacy, I became an intern in the office of the Mayor of Buffalo, New York. Through the series of community outreach events I planned for the Mayor, I saw firsthand how influential local government was in the daily lives of Buffalo residents. My interests ranging from international development to local economic policy, I quickly realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my academic career studying public policy.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “The Public Policy Research Scholars program allows me to integrate policy research into my academic career at Penn. Developing analytical and research skills specific to public policy through PPRS provides a foundational skillset with direct applications to future careers. Furthermore, PPRS offers the unique opportunity to focus on a specific area of policy. Particularly, I am fascinated by healthcare policy, but know little about the intricacies of the American healthcare system. Pursuing the healthcare policy track in PPRS would be an extremely valuable learning experience for me and could potentially shape my future career.”

  • Carmen Duran
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Coming from a rural, underserved public high school in North Carolina, I didn’t have access to many courses, programs, or educational opportunities during my K-12 education. Now that I’m at Penn, I strive to take advantage of each opportunity available to me. During my time with PPRS, I hope to gain an opportunity to critically examine and discuss policy in a smaller group setting (as opposed to lectures), a new circle of peers that can push and challenge me, and a chance to navigate areas of policy where I feel I can personally make a difference. The PPRS program will permit me the opportunity to take personal initiative in researching and examining policy, ultimately paving the way for me to take action in advocating for beneficial policy changes.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “Though I have not officially declared, I intend to major in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). The PPRS program closely aligns with my intended course of study and will supplement my education at Penn by providing an additional avenue to explore the world of policymaking alongside peers who are equally as passionate about public policy. Following my undergraduate education, I intend to either pursue a Master’s in Economics and Public Policy, a Juris Doctor, or both. The PPRS program will enable me to further engage my course of study by developing a specific policy track and helping me critically examine policy and its implications, and an especially in depth examination of policy through the capstone project.”

  • Miku Fujita
    School: Engineering

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Through the Public Policy Research Scholars program, I hope to gain an in-depth knowledge of the policy-making process and the economic analysis of public policy while I pursue my systems engineering major. I see strong complementarity between my engineering education and the PPRS healthcare policy education. Education toward my systems engineering degree will equip me with advanced quantitative and analytical skills that are highly pertinent to the analysis of healthcare, such as when considering large patient- or hospital-level datasets. At the same time, the policy education through the PPRS program will provide me with an essential basis for effective research; only with deep institutional knowledge of the U.S. healthcare system and understanding of the economics of healthcare delivery would I be able to conduct comprehensive research on healthcare policy. In addition to the curriculum itself, PPRS would also allow me to gain the hands-on skills needed to be successful in public policy research, such as experience through a D.C. internship and specialized practical training in statistical research software. After I graduate from the program, I hope to be at an organization such as the National Institute of Health or Mathematica Policy Research, working as a healthcare policy analyst.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “The Public Policy Research Scholars program is truly the perfect program for me to thrive in my passion for public policy. The PPRS program provides me with an unparalleled opportunity to explore healthcare policy and its socioeconomic impact alongside my systems engineering curriculum. As a Public Policy Research Scholar, I promise to immerse myself in the program and learn from every opportunity given to me in order to come out with as much knowledge, experience, and passion for public policy as I can.”

  • Jeffery Gao
    School: College of Arts and Sciences

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I am studying international relations with a focus on international political economy and trade. An international relations degree gives a strong cultural and theoretical basis for understanding government actions, but it lacks the quantitative training that allows for measuring the economic impact of laws and regulations – a skill the PPRS program emphasizes. By taking part in the PPRS curriculum, I hope to be able to interpret numbers and connect them to regulations, policy, and government action.”

  • Sam Goidell
    School: Wharton

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “PPRS allows me to incorporate the business concepts I learn in my Wharton courses with tangible, quantitative ideas on domestic public policy. My study of Spanish will tie in with a focus on tangible policy; by understanding Hispanic and Latino language and culture, I will be better equipped to study domestic politics and policy. My knowledge of Spanish is especially important as more and more people in the nation as a whole identify as Latino or Latina. PPRS will further my foundation in pragmatic policy and give me tools needed to combine theoretical ideas with actual policy proposals.”

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “While I do not know my exact future, that does not preclude me from having general goals for the future. I hope to one day work in the public sector. Whether I attend law school, grad school in public policy, or head straight into the workforce, PPRS will give me an ability to understand policy from a quantitative perspective that complements my Wharton degree. I hope to use these skills to improve public policy and the daily lives of Americans.”

  • Natasha Gupta
    School: Wharton

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “In the future, I hope to use Public Policy Research Scholars to strengthen my new foundations in public policy and gain a formal education on this subject. By receiving a certificate in this topic and combining it with my finance major from Wharton, I hope to enact political change in the financial world. People often assume public policy refers only to social issues when it truly covers everything from cybersecurity to taxes to budgeting to civilian rights. As someone extremely focused on finance and business, I hope to use this to my advantage and take the education I gain from my Treasury internship, business education, and Public Policy Research Scholars Program to learn how I can use my knowledge and passions to enact fiscal change.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “The Public Policy Research Scholars program is something I recently came across in my Public Policy Initiative Student Group meeting. My team leader said it was a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in public policy to continue that trek and learn more about the subject in a formal setting. After researching the program in depth, I realized this was the perfect way for me gain exposure to government policy while maintaining a personalized line of study.”

  • Max Hammer
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What interests you about public policy?

    “Since my arrival at Penn I have built upon my previous experience in and persistent passion for public policy. The public policy process, as a subject of study, has always interested me because it represents the mechanism through which ideas are translated into real, tangible change. My passion for public policy began when I watched a U.S. tank roll across the desert during the televised 2003 invasion of Iraq. That image stuck with me. Such moments define who I am academically, and seeing that event would ultimately lead to me asking important questions such as “Why?” “How?” and “Who?” I wanted to know about the politics — the decision making — behind real-life events. This, unbeknownst to me at the time, was the “gateway” for my interest in politics and public policy.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    I hope to incorporate the PPRS curriculum into my studies of international relations and environmental studies. The PPRS program offers a mechanism through which students such as myself can integrate their normal academic studies with a public policy focus. From PPRS, I hope to gain more experience in the public policy field, as well as to further expand my toolbox of abilities that could be used in enacting and/or formulating public policy in the real world.

  • Andrew Howard
    School: Wharton

    Are there specific skills you hope to develop?

    “Public Policy Research Scholars offers the opportunity to learn the skills needed for economic and political analysis of the design and implementation of public policy by the United States government. As a student of business and economics hoping to one day work in government, I stand to benefit greatly from the academic and career exposure offered by the program. More specifically, I would be able to learn the details of policymaking alongside a cohort of like-minded students about financial regulation and monetary policy, building a network of peers that would offer support for the duration of my career. Furthermore, I love the opportunity to receive specialized training in statistical research packages like R and Stata, building critical analytical skills that would be invaluable for both undergraduate and graduate work down the road. As I plan to concentrate in statistics at Wharton with a minor in mathematics, the Public Policy Research Scholars program provides an opportunity to apply my theoretical coursework to real issues that affect millions of Americans every day.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “The Public Policy Research Scholars program would provide an invaluable opportunity to further my policy interests through supplemental coursework, academic research, and career opportunities. Within the program curriculum, I would choose to concentrate in either fiscal policy or risk management policy as they relate directly to my interests in financial regulation and monetary policy. Furthermore, the program would provide a community of like-minded students to discuss material outside of the classroom. Throughout my time at Penn, I have worked to engage with the policy community through a variety of student groups and career exploration programs. If admitted to the Public Policy Research Scholars program, I would have the opportunity to learn even more in my areas of interest and to build skills in quantitative analysis that would be integral to success as a policy professional in the future.”

  • Kat Hsu
    School: Wharton, College of Arts & Sciences

    What interests you about public policy?

    “I’m interested in the Public Policy Research Scholars program, and public policy in general, because effective legislation is one of the best means to promote lasting social change. In an era of fake news and media sound bites, the public is often inundated with causes and stories. Impassioned and inflamed, many participate in protests, or sign up to vote in the next election cycle. While I am in great support of marches and voting, after the signs are put away and the forms signed, we must utilize the next step in our legislative process: pushing for adequate legislation that addresses our concerns. But how do we measure the success of such policies? Thus, I am interested in harnessing the ability to quantifiably measure and promote high-performing solutions in order to better serve our communities.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I’m excited to join the PPRS community and partake in opportunities I would never have come across elsewhere. I’m looking forward to assisting my professors in research, learning how they assess such global issues in their broken-down, measurable parts, and spending a summer interning in the always robust DC. I, along with my peers, will take advantage of the special events put on by PPRS, and build upon a shared knowledge-base together as we learn and inquire during these panels. This network of peers and mentors alike will allow room for exploration outside the classroom or internship. Our different focuses will teach us how interconnected and multifaceted each policy issue is, and how understanding the nuances of these connections is integral in making sure policies created do no harm to other groups.”

  • Shoshanna Israel
    School: Wharton

    What interests you about public policy?

    “While I’d always been interested in politics, I was discouraged by the anti-innovation reputation of government. I worked at a couple of startups before I came to Penn but my big moment of realization didn’t come until my junior year. I was splitting my time between a startup called ROAR for Good and Philadelphia city government. ROAR was trying to reduce violence against women by making safety jewelry for women (bluetooth personal alarms for women walking home alone). While city government knew what problems to solve: access to capital for struggling immigrant entrepreneurs, parents who didn’t know how to end cyclical violence, poor public schools, they didn’t have the tools that Yasmine and the ROAR team have, VC funding, creativity, technology. While ROAR focused on a small problem and executed beautifully, government poured half of the required resources into dozens of initiatives. While ROAR focused on making sure metrics, customer engagement, open rates and sales determined what we did and talked about, city government had no feedback cycle with its constituency. I, naively, wanted government to run like a 10 person startup. It wasn’t until last summer volunteering at the 2016 DNC when I realized that the pull of politics, and the stakes of leaving governance unchecked, were too great to continue working for tech startups. I want to understand better which problems in government lend themselves best to a technologist’s approach to problem solving: which means taking courses in everything from the achievement gap to health care.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I hope that building relationships with future government officials and policy wonks in the PPRS program will allow me to unite the technologist community and the governing one. This semester, I’ve been working on a project called Lightbulb, an education platform that teaches you about current events and policy in an easy, entertaining way. I’ve been excited about the prospect of using tech, feedback, and iterative thinking to help increase political efficacy and understanding, and hope that my work in the PPRS program will continue to inform the way I build this project. I believe my life’s work will leverage technology to improve policy making and public education, especially public civic education. Private enterprise can’t replace government in educating people, reducing poverty and creating opportunity– but private citizens can work with government to lend their tools and brainpower to supplement government efforts. Through educational opportunities like PPRS, I hope to truly understand the frontiers of policymaking and how technology might be applied. It is in this way that I hope to maximize my own impact.”

  • Cameron Ittner
    School: Wharton

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “The Public Policy Research Scholars program provides excellent opportunities to apply the principles that I will learned in Wharton and the classes in my policy track to relevant policy research. The priority for research opportunities given to students in PPRS would allow me to get involved with research that most closely align with my interest in fiscal policy and with the courses that I have taken. I also want to be a part of PPRS because it provides an opportunity to learn how to use the specialized programs such as R and Stata which I have learned are vital to analyzing economic data during my work as a research assistant this summer.”

    Are there specific skills you hope to develop?

    “Recently, organizations which conduct policy research have become linkage institutions, informing the public about the past impact and future effects of the government’s decisions. These institutions, both in the bureaucracy and independently, are contributing more and more to public discourse. The PPRS program would help me apply what I have learned and gain experience by interning at one of these institutions. Interning in Washington D.C. would allow me to contribute to furthering people’s understanding of public policy while also helping the organization itself. Finally, the opportunity to do a public policy related internship would give me a better understanding of how I can apply my business education to public policy work in the future.”

  • Gloria Kim
    School: Nursing

    Why PPRS?

    “The PPRS health policy track combines my interests of health care and public policy into a feasible, educational pathway for me here at Penn. Through the PPRS program, I hope to explore nursing from a wider lens and to look beyond the clinical applications of illness. I want to learn about the manifestations of illness in terms of finances, economics, and legislation. I want to be able to recognize different reasons why a patient might become so sick. Did his lack of insurance prevent him from visiting the doctor? Was he able to buy his medication? What in the health care system prevents him from seeking for medical help? How can we change the system? I also hope to be able to meet like-minded students through the tight-knit PPRS cohorts, and to learn from different professors and peers about the ways we can shape public policy. As a nursing student, I will be able to share my perspective of policy from a patient-focused point of view.”

    What makes you interested in policy?

    “I believe that Dr. Julie Sochalski said it best when she said, “I have one patient, the United States health care system.” In order to effectively take care of patients, health care professionals need to look into ways to improve the entire health care system. Too many times, people are rejected from care due to their socio-economic status and limited access. As a future nurse, I will be at the forefront of the health care system, and I will come face to face with health care issues that plague Americans around the country. The PPRS program is a unique opportunity that allows me to combine my clinical skills and my passion for public welfare. This program would give me tools to one day be able to create health care policy that positively impact my patients. My ultimate career goal would be to work with the U.S. government for the establishment of universal health care in the United States. I do not know when that will be, but through the PPRS program, I will be prepared for when that time comes.”

  • Tyler Knox
    School: Wharton, College

    What interests you about public policy?

    “My passion for public policy was first sparked in high school, largely around the promise of policy at the local level to engender positive societal change. My involvement in Youth-in-Government throughout my four years of high school, along with my experience in SUPA Public Affairs, furthered this passion; by shadowing my county legislators and writing my own policies, I saw how actors at the local level could improve the economic and social conditions of their communities through meaningful legislation. Through my experience in SUPA Public Affairs, a college level policy course offered at my school, I became more interested in health and food policy, particularly in the realm of food security. As part of the course, I worked in a team of five students to identify a societal problem within my community. I realized that my town was defined by the USDA as a “food desert:” a geographic area deficient in the access and affordability of nutritious foods. With this problem in hand, we spearheaded a local public policy to alleviate the food desert by building a community garden at our local elementary school. By engaging with the Washingtonville Central School District and Orange County Department of Health, my team succeeded in landing a $3000 grant for the project and approval for the garden’s construction.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “The PPRS program — its curriculum, community, and experiential requirement — will prepare me to pursue my educational and professional ambitions in innovation and technology policy, particularly in the defense and intelligence sectors. After graduating from Penn, I intend to pursue a career in defense consulting with firms like Booz Allen Hamilton and Avascent, specializing in projects involving military R&D and technology adoption. After gaining professional experience in the consulting space, I hope to lend my expertise to Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a Department of Defense project launched in 2015 to identify private sector technologies that can be co-opted for challenges facing the U.S. military.”

    Q:

    Where does public policy fit into this larger constellation of activities you pursue?

    I like to think that public policy IS what ties together my varying activities into a coherent narrative. Public policy is inherent to online game development (tech/innovation policy), my ballistic missile research with Professor Horowitz (innovation/defense policy), my work with Hispanic Scholarships (education policy), and work in LSM (health/innovation policy). Of course, my work this semester with the Securities & Exchange Commission is also very much tied to fiscal and regulatory policy with the SEC as the chief regulator of the U.S. financial services industry. I see the study and analysis of public policy as a framework of understanding useful to any endeavor, whether it be understanding innovation and technology policy if one hopes to launch an online gaming or biotech startup or regulatory policy if one is a managing director of a private equity firm.

    Q:

    You have a lot of experience already in developing, and managing the financials for, new ventures. Now you’re interning at the SEC. How is that experience helping you develop a broader understanding of business operations?

    I’ve only been interning at the SEC for about a month so far, but it has already been an amazing experience! I would say that at the SEC thus far, I have gained a greater understanding of the regulatory and compliance dimensions of business operations, particularly in the financial services industry. I would argue that many in the business world don’t fully understand or appreciate the crucial work of the Securities & Exchange Commission. The SEC’s three-part mission (to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation) is alive and well at the Commission, and all of my projects thus far have worked to further one of these objectives. For example, I am currently working on analyzing blue sheet request data (mandatory disclosures of securities transactions to FINRA) using R and Excel.

    Q:

    You’ve also been engaging in research with Professor Horowitz, on a topic that seems to relate nicely to your general interest in technology, as well as your interest in policy. What do you feel you’ve gained from your involvement in academic research? How has it shaped your understanding of current events—for instance, in North Korea?

    Coming to Penn, I knew that I wanted to get involved in academic research in some dimension, as I did not have the opportunity to do research in high school. However, I knew I would be doing bench/lab research at some point in LSM, so I figured I would do research in something else than interested me: policy! I just so happened to stumble upon the perfect research opportunity that brought all of my interests(technological innovation, international relations, defense policy) together as a Research Assistant for Professor Michael Horowitz, an associate professor of political sciences at Penn. As a Research Assistant for Professor Horowitz, and then conducting my own independent research project as a SPUR Scholar in the Missile Technology Control Regime of 1987, I’ve first come to realize the inherent difficulty of impeding ballistic missile proliferation. States who desire to acquire and develop their own ballistic missile capabilities have a variety of options available to them. Iit is even more difficult to act against determined and resourceful proliferators like North Korea, where we see years of repeated multilateral economic sanctions, political isolation, and the existence of the Missile Technology Control Regime arguably slowing down, but certainly not preventing, North Korea’s successful attainment of long-range ballistic missile capabilities. Outside of this context, I have come to both hone my qualitative analytical abilities and realize how little one knows when they begin researching a given area. I thought I had an idea of how ballistic missile proliferation worked, but after reading a variety of books and research articles on the subject in the course of my research, I recognized how complex the area truly is.

  • Zach Koslowski
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    The most valuable asset to statesmen is a thorough understanding of three elements: politics, law, and public policy. This knowledge, and its successful execution, holds that promise for a better tomorrow, and is the essence of what the American theologian James Freeman Clarke wrote, “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.” I believe that the University of Pennsylvania’s Public Policy Research Scholars’ curriculum will impart a critical component of that knowledge, not only to me, but to scores of future statesmen and women.

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Through the PPRS program, I will look forward to receiving help in finding substantive policy-related internships, fostering relationships with policy experts and government officials, and collaborating with faculty members and my fellow Public Policy Research Scholars. Collectively, I hope to use these experiences to hone my knowledge of domestic and foreign policy, and learn the nuances of governing. Whereas the PPRS coursework will provide me the opportunity to delve into my policy interests, I firmly believe experience in the policy process will give me the tools to affect change and help tackle some of the greatest issues of our time, such as income inequality, nuclear proliferation, and development in low-income countries.”

  • Alana Levin
    School: Wharton

    Why PPRS?

    “My freshman courses helped me to learn more about the interrelationships between economics and government policy and to realize my interest in becoming a PPRS. I also feel that the PPRS program offers an opportunity to pursue research in public policy from a business-oriented perspective. For example, with regard to the issue of gun control, regardless of the pros and cons, it seems interesting that segments of the private sector (i.e. businesses) have embraced the issue while the government has remained gridlocked. It is interesting to speculate what will happen and whether such a paradigm of private sector social engagement may impact other public policy issues. It seems that a business-oriented perspective on public policy may be especially useful in this regard. I see the PPRS program as a natural next step in pursuing my public policy education.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “The PPRS program offers the opportunity for me to continue pursuing my interests in economics, business, and government policy. The community aspect creates a cohort of likeminded individuals in a format different from typical academic settings, and I look forward to building strong friendships with my peers. I feel the PPRS program’s blend of academic, research, and social commitments are well suited for my interest of pursuing a career in government or law.”

  • Celina Lin
    School: Wharton

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “Although I have not decided on my exact future career, I know I want to pursue a career in public service or public policy. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internships in a Congressional office, at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and on a Senate campaign and could easily see myself pursuing a career on the Hill or on a campaign, perhaps after graduate or law school.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “One of the things that interests me about PPRS is that it seeks to engage students in the political process, but places a heavy emphasis on policy analysis. I am excited about the ability to tailor a course of study to a particular policy interest of mine, as well as the opportunity to interact with policy-influencers from a variety of industries. Within my first semester in the program, I have had the opportunity to meet editors of top publications, directors of public policy at large firms, and staffers from the Hill. PPRS does a great job connecting students with a variety of resources that correspond to their interests, and I look forward to taking advantages of these opportunities throughout the rest of my time in the program.”

  • Louis Lin
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    Why are you interested in public policy?

    “Growing up, I went through periods of time when I either was on government insurance or did not have health insurance due to financial difficulties. This meant that I had to try to stay healthy, stay out of harm’s way, and decide case by case whether or not to go to a doctor. It is because of these experiences that I wanted to make sure no one else had to go through a lack of health care access. I hope to study health policy and pursue a career in public policy, reforming our health care markets to create affordable healthcare coverage and equitable access. I am also a first generation, low-income student, so I know the struggles of going through the college application process blind and the difficulties of affording college. Whether it is in high school applying for college or here at Penn, I see my FGLI background influence my daily choices. For me, this has cemented the importance of education and my hope that everyone can reach higher education. However, from personal experiences, I know that this is easier said than done, as access and affordability are once again a problem. These interests in health and education policy have grown to an overarching interest in the reciprocity between public policy and social change.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “With PPRS I am pursuing a policy track in education. My majors allow me to go in depth into health policy, but PPRS allows me to pursue my passion for access in education. By taking classes in the GSE, I would be able to learn more about access to higher education and the economic aspects that are involved in education policy. On campus for education access I am involved in things like Penn First, 1vyG, and the Admissions Dean’s Advisory Board, within these groups, I work on advocating for current and future first generation and low-income students, as well as underserved communities in general. I see the work that I do as a way to influence education policy at the micro level of Penn. Studying education policy with PPRS means I can explore things at the macro level and better understand the role that I can play in education reform in my future career.”

  • Feyi Makinde
    School: Wharton

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I believe that the Housing and Real Estate Policy track in PPRS would provide me a more nuanced look into the specific ways that housing policies can affect markets in both the United States and globally. Classes like Politics of Housing and Urban Development would help me in understanding the macro questions around international housing development as well as looking on a micro level at development in our back door through the study projects like the Brandywine REIT’s Cira Green development. By pulling together my varied interests, I hope PPRS will serve as a thread that allows me to stitch together an interdisciplinary education.”

    Why are you interested in public policy?

    “My current position at the Children Deserve a Chance foundation in Lancaster, PA has allowed me the opportunity to work with a grassroots organization that, through education, fights against discrimination and poverty. This has given me a further interest in how we can tailor policies to give those who need the most help a path out of poverty and to self-reliance. It has helped me to consider how the policies lawmakers create in DC can help create a society filled with people who have the ability to take care of themselves, their family and others.”

  • Geeta Minocha
    School: Wharton

    Why are you interested in public policy?

    “My close relationship with my younger cousin, who has cerebral palsy and mild autism, led me to create the nonprofit organization Kids In Special Situations, Inc. (K.I.S.S.) in 2011. K.I.S.S. brings together special needs children in small groups to improve their social interactions, then hosts large events in which these children can interact and form friendships with their neurotypical peers. While working with public schools around Florida to organize such events, I became aware of the various problems and inadequacies of Florida’s education system, and hence, America’s at large. Knowledge of these issues sparked my interest in public policy more broadly.”

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “Despite its faults, I believe in our country and its potential to provide all citizens with the tools they need to achieve a stable, secure life. In addition to acquiring a strong foundation in economics at Wharton, I want to strengthen my understanding of environmental or healthcare policy via PPRS. I intend on applying this knowledge to a career as a public interest lawyer working for environmental nonprofits, or perhaps working for the government.”

  • Prakash Mishra
    School: Wharton

    How does PPRS fit with the rest of your curriculum?

    When I see a problem, my first thought has been “how can I address that so people do not have to do deal with it?” That thirst to solve problems is what brought me to Penn’s M&T program. As a systems engineer, I learn how to model the behavior of literally anything and understand where that unit falls apart, where that unit gets its power, and where that unit collapses. I have used that knowledge for policy already—last semester I created a simulation in class which created a live view of the Syrian refugee crisis and created quota and policy projections as to how much should be spent on refugee supplies by country and by district of each country. Through PPRS, I’m continuing to build on this acumen for problem-solving.

    In what other ways have you explored your interest in public policy while at Penn?

    Like many other PPRS students, I am currently a writer for Penn Wharton PPI’s Wonk Tank blog and edit their Foreign Policy and International Trade group. My focus as a writer has been on sustainable relations and frameworks for interaction between the US and other nations–in other words, developing long term outlooks in response to key stimuli. This topic, though broad, has led me to develop insights on Latin American judicial policy, negotiations with theatre states, and the military policy of Japan. I have also edited the writings of other students on topics ranging from Brexit to Indian agricultural policy. To this end, Wonk Tank has given me a chance to cultivate my own outlook on public policy research while not only reading but discussing others’ ideas and honing them into actionable plans.

  • Sam Mitchell
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    Why PPRS?

    “At Penn, I’ve taken classes in CIS, economics, math, and politics with an intended major in mathematical economics. I want to develop tools in these disciplines so that I can better understand and study economic policy. There is no question that the PPRS program will be a perfect complement to these academic areas. By providing not only a course of study that will enable me to develop strong quantitative research skills, but also by creating a community in which I can learn from and build off the experiences and ideas of fellow members of the program.”

  • Kevin Myers
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “PPRS will complement my past and future course of study at Penn. Thus far, my academic focus on policy and political systems has largely focused on qualitative aspects. As a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major, I have undertaken significant coursework related to public policy. While these classes have provided useful and insightful exposure to public policy, gaining a quantitative understanding is essential in order to comprehend the implementation and execution of policy. The impacts of policy can be wide-ranging, making it important to understand not only its effects on individuals’ feelings toward the government, but also its effects on the overall economy and the economic standing of individuals.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “In the future, it is my goal to work as a public interest lawyer, utilizing the intersection of policy and law to benefit others. As a Public Policy Research Scholar, I will further my understanding of how and why government institutes policy. This program will help me develop these skills through gaining an increased academic understanding of policy through the required coursework and practical understanding though research and internship experience. A more thorough understanding of policy will provide me with an increased awareness of the causes and effects of policy. With this knowledge, I can better understand how to use policy and political systems as tools for positive change.”

  • Nile Nwogu
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “My interest in public policy has developed since high school, when I won an award from C-SPAN for a short documentary. My partners and I made our film about why the federal budget deficit should be the top priority of 2014. Urging Congress to pass more of the budget caps and sequestration seen in 2011 is how I discovered my passion for fiscal policy and economic policy at large. I also ran a tutoring and coaching business in high school and have always loved education. Moving to Philadelphia and seeing the problems with urban schooling ignited my interest in education reform. Efficiently allocating taxpayer money is an important responsibility and I hope to learn about the best strategies for doing so.”

     

    Are there specific skills you hope to develop?

    “PPRS will provide me with a different perspective when approaching problems in finance. When studying companies and the broader markets, it is helpful to have an understanding of how public policy affects them. For example, if a new environmental tax credit bill were to pass in a state, the ability to analyze this policy and make a hypothesis about how it will affect certain businesses in the area helps an investment team to make the best assumptions when modeling potential transactions and the best operational recommendations when advising its portfolio companies.”

    Are there specific skills you hope to develop?

    “PPRS will provide me with a different perspective when approaching problems in finance. When studying companies and the broader markets, it is helpful to have an understanding of how public policy affects them. For example, if a new environmental tax credit bill were to pass in a state, the ability to analyze this policy and make a hypothesis about how it will affect certain businesses in the area helps an investment team to make the best assumptions when modeling potential transactions and the best operational recommendations when advising its portfolio companies.”

     

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I hope to gain an interdisciplinary experience connecting economics, political science, and statistics, and the ability to say that I have the tools to look at a policy proposal and understand its economic implications. As my passion for public policy continues to mature, I want to be able to apply it and make it a central part of my professional work.”

  • Chris Painter
    School: Engineering

    What interests you about public policy?

    “I’m very interested in the channels through which science becomes a part of the public consciousness and government programs, specifically on issues like climate change, animal rights, and weapons development.”

    What do you hope to do in the future?

    “At some point I’ll be going into one of the industries that I’m most passionate about–space technology and energy–both of which have large amounts of government oversight that my experience in PPRS [will] help me navigate.”

     


  • Rupa Palanki
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    Why PPRS?

    “One of the reasons I hope to be a part of the PPRS program is that I believe that a concentration in health policy would be the perfect academic mechanism by which to unite my interests in economics, healthcare, and policy into one fluid narrative. For example, I could take classes like HCMG202 (Economics and Financing of Health Care Delivery) through the program, which would allow me to translate theoretical economic tools and insights from my major to the design of practical, real-life policy solutions. Thus, this certificate program would allow me to gain a truly interdisciplinary education that will prepare me for a career in health policy.”

    Why I’m interested in policy?

    “Determining how to make healthcare more affordable and available requires coordination across a diverse range of fields, such as humanities, business, and policymaking, and I know that I still have much to learn about healthcare reform in action. I strongly believe that if I am truly to understand public policy, experience with policy is just as important, if not more crucial, than textbook learning. Through PPRS, I will have the ability to network with and learn from experts in the field, engage and collaborate with a community of like-minded peers, and pursue and obtain research and internship opportunities. I will not only be able to engage with my policy interests but will have the opportunity to develop analytical, critical thinking, and leadership skills. Through these avenues, I will gain the ability to integrate diverse points of view to solve problems and will be equipped with the tools to effect meaningful change.”

  • Julia Pan
    School: College of Arts and Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “The PPRS program will equip me with quantitative tools to combine my two majors, economics and cognitive science, and direct them toward the field of technology policy. I took a course during my freshman year called Contemporary Philosophy: Enhancing the Mind Through Technology. Through this seminar I discovered the benefits and dangers of cognitive enhancements, artificial intelligence, and mind uploading. Yet during every discussion, the social justice advocate within me noticed that questions of equity and distribution of these new technologies were not addressed. The implementation of such technologies will have huge repercussions and ramifications on the economy, education, healthcare, and more. Thus, the PPRS program provides with me the structure and support to combine my multiple passions and interests.”

    What are some of your future goals?

    “The PPRS program is a step for me in pursuing a graduate degree in an interdisciplinary field such as technology policy, and in jumpstarting my career as a public servant. The PPRS curriculum will enhance my quantitative research skills while the Innovation and Technology Policy track courses will provide me with the qualitative skills to become a dedicated change agent and problem-solver that will make a lasting impact on society.”

  • Catherine Parr
    School: Wharton

    Why I’m interested in policy?

    “I want every American to be able to afford quality health care, and I am excited by how Wharton and the Public Policy Research Scholars program will provide resources to help me work towards this goal. My medical challenges never set me back in achieving my goals, and I do not want anyone to feel unable to succeed due to a medical condition or the financial stress it puts on their family. Health care policy perfectly combines my passion for public policy and desire for helping people with my experiences with medical challenges and love of health and fitness. I want to learn more about how to get involved in this field, and the PPRS program is the best way because of its promotion of different ways of learning.”

    Why PPRS?

    “I chose Penn because of the passion of the students on campus. Everyone is pursuing different fields of study, and everyone is wildly passionate about their pursuits; everyone wants to tell you about what they are doing, and everyone wants to learn about what you are doing, too. Meeting with fellow scholars weekly for dinner will include intriguing conversations about our research experiences, and we will bounce ideas back and forth about creative solutions to complex problems. Being in a cohort of similar-minded students will provide a valuable chance to develop in both personal and professional ways, as we offer each other support through academic and personal hardships, as well as share feedback to solidify our individual career paths.”

  • Rae Peterson
    School: Wharton

    Why are you interested in public policy?

    “I grew up in a patriotic family that taught me the importance of serving my country. From a young age, public policy and government have played an intergral role in my life, and it remains a constant foundation that drives my interests and passions. Having traveled to six continents, I have experienced first hand the governmental systems of other countries and how they implement public policy, but none have ever come close to the United States and all of the opportunities it affords. Learning about how policy is made in the US and the effect it has on millions of people is important no matter what profession you’re in.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “PPRS gives me the opportunity to explore the connection between business and public policy and to specialize in a policy track that interests me. PPRS not only teaches students the skills they need to succeed in public policy but they also apply the larger concepts we learn in the classroom to the real world. The program offers me the chance to intern in Washington DC in the summer and work alongside public policy experts, in addition to emphasizing the importance of having informed solutions through research.”

  • Olivia Podos
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “I believe that participating in PPRS will not only improve my education in the short run, but will also benefit me in the long run, helping me achieve my future goals. While I am unsure of my exact future career path, I know that I am interested in working in the education sector in a career that looks to reform the school system. Whether that career entails working at a think tank, in the government, or at an education technology startup, I am excited to apply the skills I will learn through participating in the PPRS program to analyze policies and to find solutions to current problems within school systems.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “I am excited to learn about policy from many angles. Not only am I interested in the PPRS course curriculum, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to do an internship and to take part in research. This aspect of the program is appealing to me because I believe it is important to learn in a variety of different contexts rather than just in the classroom. For instance, I believe that my experience as a research assistant has taught me new skills that differ from those I have learned from my courses, such as how to approach and design a larger-scale project than those expected for class assignments.”

  • Rachel Pomerantz
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What interests you about public policy?

    “The study of public policy excites me because it gives me tools for confronting societal problems. As a student of public policy, when I hear the national debate on the minimum wage or federal college loan forgiveness programs, I can use the skills that I have learned and practiced to not only understand how this problem has come about, but can also critically analyze proposed solutions.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Since one of the goals of this program is to provide scholars with the foundation for future research and analysis, some of the tangible abilities that I hope to gain are more of the technical skills needed to analyze data. Furthermore, after taking BEPP 201 this past semester, I not only want to better understand some of the topics that I found particularly fascinating, such as antitrust law and consumer protection, but also practice using an analytical approach to deriving public policy solutions.”

  • John Sarihan
    School: Wharton, Engineering

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Joining PPRS would allow me to pursue an education at the intersection of technology, economics, and policy. Besides studying in Wharton and Engineering, the senior capstone project would give me broader understanding of technology in the world. I would join a community of hard-working and supportive peers who share the same sense of ambition as I do. Sharing ideas with people who share the same interests in policy is something unique to the PPRS community that I can’t find anywhere else.”

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “I plan to raise policy awareness among creators and technological literacy among policy creators. After Penn, I hope to get firsthand experience in the tech sector before going back to school for a technology and policy PhD program. Hands-on research and real world policy experience are essential before approaching technical legislation at a graduate level. By joining PPRS, I hope to utilize all the resources the program has to offer and better understand policy in an evolving technological landscape.”

  • Lexie Shah
    School: College of Arts & Sciences

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “My involvement in Model United Nations honed my interest in politics, economics, and international relations. These experiences culminated in my decision to take both economics and history to strengthen my interdisciplinary understanding of public policy. Through these courses, I began to ask myself the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind what I was learning; I became hungry to identify and understand the implications, effects, and solutions concerning the government, its policies, and its duty to serve its constituents.”

    What unique opportunities has the Public Policy Research Scholars program afforded you?

    “The community PPRS fosters is unqiue and beneficial. In PPRS, I will be focused on advancing my interest in public policy not only at an academic level, but also through constructive discourse with other research scholars. I value the fact that PPRS comprises students from all four schools, as this means that we will all bring fresh perspectives and challenge each other to think like true policy analysts. Within the PPRS community, high-level critical thinking will become normalized and create an atmosphere of continuous learning and growth.”

    Q:

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “If I have one goal in life, it is to advance society, to constantly improve, advocate for each other, and collaborate and listen to one another. In the current international political climate, there is a lack of cooperation because states are placing national interests over the interests of the international community. My mission is to foster an international environment that is focused on tolerance, respect, and collaboration. With PPRS, I hope to hone my public policy analytical skills, both qualitative and quantitative, to evaluate the implications of certain policies and positions. This will provide me with the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish my mission of creating an international community build on trust and cooperation.”

  • Jay Vaingankar
    School: Wharton

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to study business or political science, since both worked with leadership, government, and economic thinking. What ultimately drove me to choose business was when I found this university has the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative. I wanted to study business out of a desire to learn how the economy works, how businesses and consumers think, and how to manage a team. Wharton PPI is an initiative that gives the opportunity to translate these skills into tackling difficult policy issues and contributing to public service.”

    What do you hope to gain from the PPRS experience?

    “Within the program specifically, I find that I would achieve many of my educational goals by studying a combination of public policy and political science courses that allow me to understand the policy-making process. Along with the specialization and the required internship, I would be able to find a niche within public service to give myself better guidance with how I want to use my policy skills in the real world.”

  • Varun Vallbhaneni
    School: Wharton

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “My ultimate goal upon graduation is to provide a higher quality of healthcare to the communities that need it the most. This could mean working for the World Health Organization, health-related NGOs in developing countries, or the FDA. I could also work as a physician or health policy consultant in D.C. Simply stated, I’m not exactly sure what trajectory I want to follow once I graduate Penn, but to achieve my goal of making a tangible impact on my surrounding community by providing quality healthcare, a strong policy background is essential.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “PPRS fits perfectly with my intended course of study at Penn. As a student pursuing concentrations in finance + healthcare management, the healthcare policy track of this certificate program will supplement my education perfectly. I want to translate the problems and inequalities in healthcare that I witnessed into policy, and PPRS gives me the means to do so. Delivering quality healthcare or having an impact on medical infrastructure is multidimensional. While my business education will provide a strong foundation to be a well-informed professional, an interdisciplinary approach with a healthcare policy background will be critical to my success.”

  • Stephanie Wu
    School: Wharton

    Why are you interested in public policy?

    “My interest in policy formation stems from my years of competitive debate. Most of the motions that we analyze and rebut are historically or currently relevant policy issues in fields as diverse as economics, human rights, the environment, feminism and media. Because of this, I’ve been challenged to think deeply and critically about the benefits and detriments of policies, and I’ve been pushed to generate my own arguments beyond the points of view reported and claimed in the media. I have also always been interested in politics, but I want to work in the public service specifically because I want to be have the freedom to support whatever policy I genuinely believe is beneficial, not whichever one is dictated by party lines.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    The PPRS program would be a great opportunity for me to explore my policy interests in a way that also complements my business education by allowing me to learn more about the different policy tracks and refine down my interests. Although I do intend on concentrating in Business Economics and Public Policy at Wharton, I would really appreciate taking political science, urban studies and health and societies courses which are completely removed from business. I believe that this would encourage me to consider policy through a different lens, and therefore better understand its possible implications on stakeholder groups.”

  • Alex Zanca
    School: Wharton

    What do you want to do in the future?

    “For my future career, I aspire to use my quantitative skills to work on the social issues that I care about. I think that the whole PPRS experience, through the internship and capstone course, would represent an important stepping stone for me towards graduate education in economics and public policy. For me, the capstone course would be a unique opportunity to work on my own research paper. Before the capstone, I am eager to get involved in undergraduate research as early as my sophomore year. I am looking to learn how economists choose their assumptions and build their models, key steps in the research process. I am hopeful that, through PPRS, I will be able to find a research assistant position that fits my interests. Besides this, I believe a public policy internship somewhere on Think Thank Row in DC would be a valuable opportunity to immerse myself in the public policy research environment and to get an important insight into what I could do in the future, after graduate school.”

    What inspired you to apply to be a Public Policy Research Scholar?

    “My first year at Penn gave me plenty of opportunities to explore new topics, reconsider my original interests and develop other ones, specifically macroeconomics and public policy. Through my first macro course, I learned about the economic mechanisms that government institutions use to mandate fiscal and monetary policy. I was intrigued by the complex interplay between taxation levels, public debt and fiscal multipliers, variables that influence living standards greatly. Additionally, in my writing seminar, I thoroughly enjoyed writing a literature review on AIDS policy in developing nations, looking at how economic and social factors shape AIDS drugs markets. This made me think I might enjoy doing research on public policy.”

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>