Student Profiles

Student Profile: Jeremiah Grant

jerry-grant.jpgJeremiah Grant, a first year MPP student, is passionate about enacting lasting change in underprivileged communities through public policy. Jeremiah, who goes by the nicknames of Jerry or JG, entered into the Master of Public Policy program at MSU this past fall because he believes there is a need for more efficient policymaking in underprivileged areas in the City of Detroit, as well as around the United States.

After graduation, Jerry is interested in pursuing a career in lobbying. He would like to live in Washington, D.C. and Durban, South Africa. Jerry explains, “Washington D.C. is the best place to be to enact the most change,” and that “Durban, South Africa is the most beautiful place I have been in my life, and I have made friends there that I will have for eternity, and the beach is amazing there!”

In the MPP program, Jerry is most looking forward to interacting with his diverse cohort and learning from everyone’s unique life experiences; he is especially curious in how policies have affected his fellow students and their families. Jerry is excited to learn new ways to approach old issues to enact greater positive change.

Outside of public policy, Jerry enjoys running, reading, fishing, golfing and spending time with family and friends.

Announcement, Uncategorized

Goodman Scholarship: Lauren Lahie

Lauren Lahie, a first year Master of Public Policy student, was recently awarded the George and Judith Goodman Scholarship by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

The Goodman scholarship aims to create a pipeline of qualified individuals by encouraging careers in public service. This scholarship is awarded every November to a Michigan high school or college student pursuing a career in local government with a public policy or public administration degree and is intended to be used for tuition and fees related to pursuing a degree. The scholarship is funded in recognition of George Goodman, who had a long career in public service; he served 22 years as the Executive Director of the Michigan Municipal League. 

Lauren Lahie plans to pursue a career as a political consultant in local government after graduation. She explains, “The funds from this scholarship give me the opportunity to continue moving towards that goal worry-free.” Lauren encourages other students to apply for all scholarships – especially ones funded by an organization with goals or a mission that you personally believe in. 

Student Profiles

Student Profile: Josiah Bear

Josiah Bear, a first year Master of Public Policy student, entered into the public policy field this past fall with a strong desire to help people who are struggling. Josiah is interested in family policy and individual rights, and hopes to eventually work with families through the Department of Human Services or a similar agency. 

This past spring, Josiah worked as a coordinator for the 4-H Capitol Experience program through Michigan State University Extension. He originally became involved with the program when he was a participant in high school. The 4-H Capitol Experience program brings 100 high-school students to Lansing to learn about policy, civil engagement, and leadership. In his role as coordinator, Josiah scheduled visits with legislators, state agencies, community partners, and lobbyists around Michigan to speak with the group, and even organized a mock House and Senate simulation to help the students understand how government functions day-to-day. This internship confirmed Josiah’s passion for policy and working with youth. 

Josiah believes that networking and building strong relationships is key to a successful career in policy and also notes “honesty and dedication do not go unnoticed.” In his free time, Josiah enjoys spending time with his family, and working on his family farm and Land Rovers.

Student Profiles

Student Profile: Hannah Sweeney

sweeney2018-175x250Hannah Sweeney, a first year Master of Public Policy student, is seeking a degree in public policy because she views policy as a course of action to find solutions to problems in society. Hannah is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of policy issues in the MPP program and getting the opportunity to delve more in-depth for the issues she cares about. Her policy interests are on economic development, education, and women’s issues.

Over the summer, Hannah interned in the Michigan House of Representatives and worked on various campaigns, including a gubernatorial race. She was also a Legislative Fellow, where she researched policy and assisted in a draft for a paid family leave bill proposal. Hannah believes each opportunity helped her expand her knowledge on the political process and contributed to her understanding of how policy is deeply intertwined with everyday lives.

Hannah hopes to work for a research or consulting firm upon graduation. She plans to live in either Michigan, to help alleviate some of the state’s pressing problems, or in a major policy hub, such as Washington D.C. Hannah advises others to not be afraid to try something new because it could lead to exciting new academic or professional opportunities.

MPP Speaker Series

Speaker Series: Susan Reed

Susan ReedSusan Reed, Managing Attorney at Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, spoke with MPP students on Thursday, October 18, 2018 about her experience with Michigan’s immigration policy & being an advocate for critical immigration legal issues. Reed described the challenges of coalition-building between civil rights organizations and advocacy groups. She explained how working with different stakeholders can be difficult due to differing values and priorities. In her role as a legal supervisor, Reed deals with a variety of legal issues for immigrants, such as wage theft, work status, and the rights of unaccompanied minors.

Her work has grown in size, scope, and public engagement since Reed entered the immigration policy arena in 2007. There used to be less general public interest in immigration issues, Reed explained, but with the recent family separation policies by Trump Administration, public engagement has increased. Reed believed it is heartening to have more public support behind her work with immigration legal advocacy in Michigan; her organization was even invited to speak in seven different Michigan cities over the past year.

Reed advised MPP students to stay grounded in their core values and to not to betray  one’s constituents with intersectional identities by partnering with coalitions who promote policies which may harm them. Reed emphasized the importance of recognizing the social, cultural, and economic contributions of immigrants, but cautions against simplifying immigrants’ contributions to solely their economic impacts. Immigrants, those with legal status or otherwise, deserve human dignity. 

Student Profiles

Student Profile: M Baqir Mohie El-Deen

BaqirM Baqir Mohie El-Deen, second-year Master of Public Policy student at MSU, believes public policy is key to long-term change. Baqir is interested in economics, energy, immigration, and international policy. Baqir explains that he aspires to be “a catalyst for positive change by advocating for the policies that will make that possible.” His favorite part of the MPP program is learning about the relationship between economics and public policy and the influence that economics has on policies that are adopted into law.

Over the summer, Baqir interned with the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Washington D.C., where he worked with congressional affairs. He experienced first hand the impact of think tanks, congressional hearings and meetings, and lobbyists have on foreign policy. Baqir encourages students to start searching early for summer internships and independently network. “Networking will get opportunities to you quicker than any other way,” he advised, adding that the ultimate goal of networking should be to establish a genuine relationship.

Outside of policy, Baqir enjoys discussing sociopolitical issues, visiting scenic places, playing ping pong, reading, and enjoying good food. His favorite place traveled was the Ancient Kingdom of Babylon in Iraq, where the Code of Hammurabi, a pioneering code of law, was written by King Hammurabi.


Student Profile: Cristian Martinez-Medina


Martinez_Cristian1.jpgCristian Martinez-Medina entered the MSU Master of Public Policy program in Fall 2018 because he aspires to be a bridge between public policy and local communities. He strongly believes that public policy is a key tool for social innovation. Cristian hopes to assist his local community in Puerto Rico, as well as Hispanic communities throughout the United States, in gaining a stronger voice in public policy.

Cristian is looking forward to being in the MPP program, and is excited to be part of a cohort that can learn about political challenges, generate consensus, and thrive together. Cristian plans to strengthen his academic profile, while gaining transferable skills for working in the field, over the next two years.

Cristian is interested in electoral policy, as well as diversity analysis of public policy. After graduation, he hopes to work in a Hispanic community in Puerto Rico, New York, Florida, or Washington D.C. His favorite place traveled was Colombia for its diverse community and environment. Outside of public policy, Cristian enjoys alternative theater and art for its unique ability to trigger social change.    

Student Profiles, Uncategorized

Student Profile: Lauren Hamelink

professional 1.JPGLauren Hamelink, a second-year Master of Public Policy student, interned with nonprofit organization Hands Along the Nile Development Services (HANDS) in Washington D.C. over the summer.

She connected with the organization through the National Council on US-Arab Relations’ summer internship program, and spent her time organizing fundraising events to promote economic development in Egypt and across North Africa, writing the HANDS newsletters, and attending events in Washington D.C. This internship gave Lauren a better understanding of the complex dynamics of the policy field. The most valuable advice Lauren learned from her internship was to be flexible and open to new opportunities, as you never know where they will lead.

Lauren decided to seek a degree in public policy after the 2016 presidential election because she realized she wanted to be more proactive about making a difference in the world. Lauren’s policy interests are foreign and migration policy, and she hopes to work in policy analysis after graduation. Lauren plans to live in Washington D.C. for the career opportunities, as well as the constant ability to connect with new people and participate in meaningful events. Outside of public policy, Lauren enjoys reading and playing with her cat, Lily.  



Student Profile: Sejal Luthra



Sejal Luthra is a first-year Master of Public Policy student who is passionate about social policy. She is especially interested in the environment and innovative waste recycling methods. Sejal is seeking a degree in the MSU MPP program to develop her skills and learn the necessary tools to be successful in the policy field. She hopes to work in policy consultancy or advocacy after graduation. Sejal is most excited about thought-provoking lectures that encourage her to think critically about important policy issues in the MPP program.

Sejal would love to live and work in Washington D.C. after graduation, and dreams of one day retiring in France. Sejal has traveled around the world; her favorite place visited was Goa, India. She believes it is one of the most beautiful places in India, and reflects fondly upon it as the most relaxing vacation of her life. Besides studying public policy, Sejal enjoys dancing and seeks out classes to improve her skill.


MPP Alumni: Alexa Kramer & Vinny Szczerowski

Master of Public Policy alumni Alexa Kramer and Vinny Szczerowski returned to East Lansing Wednesday night to talk with current MPP students. Alexa and Vinny shared advice on completing capstone research projects, searching for jobs, and working in the policy field. Both Alexa and Vinny graduated from the MPP program at MSU in Spring 2017.

0Alexa Kramer is currently the Public Policy Coordinator for Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, where she works with education policy and tax and regulatory affairs. In her day-to-day work, Alexa spends her time advocating on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce members. Alexa has always been passionate about education policy, and previously focused her MPP capstone project on the best practices of charter schools. She advised current MPP students to choose a capstone topic they are passionate about, as it will reflect in the work. She also stressed that is essential to figure out what type of topic is both meaningful and realistic, especially in terms of the time and resources one has to complete the research.

northern-strategies-360-photo-2Vinny Szczerowski is currently a Health Policy Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He works in the Government and Regulatory Affairs department, where he interprets legislation from Washington D.C. into understandable content for different segments of the Blue Cross enterprise. During his time at MSU, Vinny focused on health policy and centered his capstone project on Veteran healthcare policy. Vinny explained that the work he does now in his health policy analyst role directly relates to the work from his capstone project. He believes developing a strong elevator pitch, by highlighting the key and succinct details about your research, is very important for successful capstone forum presentations.

The MPP students appreciated and enjoyed Alexa and Vinny returning to campus to speak with them and share their personal career journeys. Thank you Alexa & Vinny!