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.

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, PPRS, 2019
    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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.”


  • <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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank"></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="" target="_blank">Quick link.</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="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>