Hire An MPP, Student Profiles

Hire An MPP: Hui Huang

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students will be graduating this May. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our soon-to-be graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

huiName: Hui Huang

Ideal Job Location: Michigan; United States

Ideal Job: Hui Huang has flexible skills and is open to policy and data analysis work on many subjects. Her main interest, however, is in immigration and international education policy. She has had the opportunity to work on these issues at Michigan State University, which has given her a solid background in understanding how policy affects the lives of everyday people. She has also developed a strong interest in parental leave policies.

Hui’s skills in data collection, her understanding of sound research methods, and her ability to combine concern for the public with objective research and analytical skills will make her an asset to any organization.

She would most like to work in government, with an NGO, or at an institute of higher education.

Work Experience: Hui has engaged in several internships and jobs during her time in the MPP program.

She worked as a policy intern for the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness and also served as a Research Assistant for the Chinese International Students Research Group. These experiences gave her insight into diverse state, local, and international policy issues.

Currently, Hui works as a student assistant in Michigan State University’s WorkLife Office. In this role, she researches paid parental leave policies and performs essential data collection work for members of the Association of American Universities.

“Paid parental leave policy is an important topic which will need more attention in the future,” she notes.

Skills and Academic Training: “The MPP program is a great program to help us prepare for a career,” Hui says. She has completed all three courses in Quantitative Methods, which provide training in data analysis and statistical software. She also notes that the PPL 891 special topics courses, performance management and social policies, taught her important critical thinking skills.

“Public policy will make society better and it’s meaningful for me to change something in the world,” Hui says. In her future career, she plans to make a difference by applying her skills to critical policy issues. Her commitment and abilities will allow her to perform well in a variety of policy positions and organizations.

Hire An MPP, Student Profiles

Hire An MPP: Zach Polselli

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students will be graduating this May. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our soon-to-be graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

blogzachName: Zachary Polselli

Ideal Job Location: Detroit, MI

Ideal Job: Zach aims to use his considerable knowledge of the policymaking process to improve program development and implementation in a large city or county in Michigan. Ultimately, he would like to become a city or county manager.

Through the MPP program and his experiences, Zach has developed the skills and understanding necessary for these demanding roles.

Work Experience: Zach has performed valuable policy work related to both program planning and legislative processes. Over the last three years, he has completed four internships with his state representative. As he explains, “I have seen all steps in the process of turning policy into law. This has helped me see what is politically feasible when trying to implement a policy. The policy content is as important as the political environment in which it is introduced.” He believes he could use his knowledge of the state legislator in his future policy work.

Last summer, Zach completed another internship in Detroit with the Wayne County Health, Veterans & Community Wellness as part of the InnovateGov internship program. This was one of his favorite and most valuable experiences in the MPP program because he was able to assist with policy from creation to evaluation.

Skills and Academic Training: Zach’s training in the MPP program has allowed him to combine analytical skills with his insights into the real world of policymaking, as he did when making plans to fulfill the needs of Wayne County’s citizens. He credits MPP faculty members Dr. Valentina Bali and Dr. Josh Sapotichne with inspiring and strengthening his knowledge and passion for policy.

His Policy Evaluation course was particularly valuable in helping him understand how to design and conduct sound program assessments. This type of work requires the thorough understanding of politics and policy that he has demonstrated in his previous roles.

Zach is well-prepared to take on the challenging policy needs of Michigan’s urban areas.

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Hire An MPP: Cassie Richard

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students will be graduating this May. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our soon-to-be graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

Headshot_Cassie_Richard.jpgName: Cassie Richard

Ideal Job Location: United States

Ideal Job: Cassie plans to work in a role that involves program and policy evaluation in the nonprofit or public sector. The MPP program has helped her gain valuable skills for an evaluation position in state or federal government or at a philanthropic organization. Eventually, she would like to obtain an executive role or run for public office.

Work Experience: Cassie is a former AmeriCorps Vista member. She explains, “I contributed to a grassroots driven policy initiative. Seeing the way in which all the cogs moved in this machine from the community advocates to the local City Council members to the city administrative departments fascinated me.” This experience and the desire to understand more was an important motivation for applying to the Master of Public Policy program.

Throughout her time in graduate school, Cassie has worked as a graduate assistant for the Global Urban Studies Program. Her work involves research and data analysis that requires interpreting complex information.

Last summer, Cassie was selected for a highly competitive Oregon Summer Fellow position through the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. She successfully completed an enriching experience in local government.

Skills and Academic Training: Cassie appreciated the MPP program’s Policy Evaluation course as well as the policy issues course Poverty, Inequality, and the Social Safety Net. These courses have sharpened both her quantitative and qualitative skills.

She is applying what she has learned through coursework and her experiences to her capstone project. This project is an evaluation of the implementation of a financial education program. This program is part of the Michigan Financial Opportunity Corps, hosted by Community Economic Development Advocates of Michigan (CEDAM).

Cassie states, “I hope to work in a position that is challenging and allows creativity. I am very interested in pursuing an evaluation position where I can assist the organization determine the impact of their programming, resources, or policy.”

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Hire An MPP: Alexa Malesky

Many of Michigan State University’s second-year Master of Public Policy students will be graduating this May. They have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion that will allow them to put the skills they’ve acquired to good use. We’re posting profiles of all our soon-to-be graduates so you can get to know them—and maybe find the next addition to your firm or organization!

alexaName: Alexa Malesky

Ideal Job Location: United States

Ideal Job: “I’d love to work in a policy think-tank focusing on education policy,” Alexa says. She has long been interested in politics and education policy is particularly compelling to her. Coming from a family of many teachers, she has a personal connection to this field in addition to the interest inspired by her own education and experiences.

Alexa is also interested in governmental relations roles at large corporations. Eventually, she would like to be in an executive position, such as director, at an education policy think tank.

Work Experience: Last summer, Alexa had first-hand experience with think tank policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. She shares, “I gained a greater understanding of the education policy sector and further developed my passion in advocating for school choice policies and more options for students everywhere to succeed.”

Currently, Alexa is working at the Lansing lobbying firm MGS Consultants.

“This position allows me to keep in contact with a wide range of clients and updating them with various policy topics such as energy and technology, health, higher education, and transportation. Through this position, I’m able to fine tune my communication skills and get experience in developing professional relationships.”

Skills and Academic Training: The MPP program has allowed Alexa to enjoy courses well-suited to her strong analytical skills, like economics and statistics. These courses provide excellent training in how to analyze information, create and interpret statistical models, and understand important economic principles. Alexa plans to combine this knowledge with her experience and understanding of educational policy.

Alexa aspires to make a positive impact on citizens’ lives through policy work. “I would love the opportunity to collect research, analyze the best pathway, and craft policy to help students reach their full potential.”

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Hire an MPP: Stephanie Lawalu

Lawalu_092014Stephanie Lawalu enrolled in Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy program seeking to help better the lives of those in Indonesia through education and policy development. Stephanie originally began working towards her passion in public administration through her undergraduate program at Nusa Cendana University in Indonesia. Stephanie came to MSU seeking a set of applicable skills in policy that she would later be able to utilize to improve the government in Indonesia, and she feels that the program’s courses have given her the training she needs to do so. Stephanie hopes to apply the quantitative skills she has gained in a variety of policy areas and is open to working within different levels of NGOs or within the government. Serving as an analyst for the government that will further the country’s development is something that she would find extremely fulfilling. She would also like to apply her knowledge through work at Indonesian universities to promote education for others to gain these skills and stimulate political and economic expansion goals within the country.

Stephanie gained exceptional experience in policy beginning in 2008 working at the Nusa Cendana University International Relations office. During this time she worked as the project administrator on a cooperative project in collaboration with Nuffic, an NGO from the Netherlands. This capacity-building project promoted efforts to grant funding to the University for improved management in both the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry departments.

For Stephanie’s final Capstone project she will utilize her first-hand knowledge of the Indonesian economy to study the country’s 1997-1998 financial crisis. She feels this is an ideal topic for utilizing the economic and political base of the MPP Program, as the financial crisis was responsible for influencing Indonesia’s democratic reform. She will explore policies of the time and the effect they had on the country’s turning point. She was drawn to this issue because fifteen years after the crisis, Indonesia is still working on reforms that seek to enhance democratic and economic performance. Understanding this event will help to identify which types of policies to avoid in the future in hopes of preventing a recurrence of this type of political instability.

Connect with Stephanie at her LinkedIn page

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Hire an MPP: Erik Hanser

Hanser, Erik

MPP candidate Erik Hanser currently has his sights set on post-grad involvement in policy changes that will affect the lives of Michigan residents. Erik has always been interested in politics and was more specifically drawn to Public Policy after his undergraduate experience at Alma College. There he acquired degrees in both history and social studies, followed by a secondary teaching degree. After leaving Alma he worked as a substitute teacher in the Detroit and Lansing areas. In both of these locations Erik taught in a variety of districts spanning from very urban to rural settings. This variation piqued his interest for education reforms and policy.

Erik has gained exceptional experience in the field of policy with his work for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan through the Earhart Fellowship. The Citizens Research Council aims to gain information for policymakers on both state and local levels of government organizations. While serving here Erik worked on a array of different topics including: the November 2014 Wolf Hunting proposal/initiatives, state comparison fiscal policy notes, Michigan dual enrollment practices, as well as year round schools in Michigan. Currently Erik has been working on Geographic Information System programming for CRC to map out year round schools. Learn more the CRC’s work at their website here.

Erik strives to not only understand how policies are created but to also find ways to improve them, in turn bettering the lives of those affected by them. Erik would like to utilize his work experience in urban schools and passion for improving the educational system in a future career regarding educational policy. He is also interested in environmental and energy policy. Due to the variety of electives and topics covered in his MPP classes Erik is prepared to work under an assortment of topics. This variation in class material was one of his favorite aspects of the MPP program, which he feels has helped establish a knowledge base and set of skills that will allow him to work on a broad spectrum of issues. His final capstone project will explore the impact of year-round schools on student performance, attendance, and behavior. He will also review how this change affects communities and budgets, with a goal of providing information to Michigan schools considering transitioning to a new calendar. Learn more about Erik’s experience and contact him via his LinkedIn page.

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Hire an MPP: Mike Sayre

sayreMike Sayre (MPP candidate ’15) has enjoyed his time with the MPP program and is looking forward to the opportunity to use his training in the professional world. Mike entered the MPP program without a specific interest in a particular area of policy and has had opportunities to explore several different areas of interest from labor policy, higher education policy, and transportation safety policy. One of the things he appreciates about public policy is the ability to adapt, learn, and apply his skills to new issues as they arise.

Originally from Dexter, Michigan, Mike began his undergraduate career at Washtenaw Community College before transferring to the University of Michigan, where he received degrees in history and political science. His undergraduate studies focused on foreign policy and Eastern Europe and Russia in particular. Mike spent three months teaching English in Russia after completing his undergraduate degree and still works to maintain his Russian language skills.

Throughout his time as an undergraduate Mike worked for the ICPSR Summer Program which trains graduate students in advanced quantitative methods for the social sciences. Here Mike met Professors William Jacoby and Saundra Schneider, both political science faculty at MSU. When Mike expressed interest in returning to school to pursue a graduate degree, he was encouraged by Dr. Jacoby and Dr. Schneider to consider the MPP program at MSU and he is grateful for the guidance and mentorship they provided him.

Mike would have a difficult time deciding a favorite course of the program but having the opportunity to participate in the public policy analysis course as a student and then as a teaching assistant was a particularly rewarding experience. The opportunities to explore many different areas of policy has been very useful for Mike and has helped him determine where his interests are and how he can have an impact on issues he cares about. Mike’s capstone research project will explore the outcomes related to recent efforts made by higher education institutions to address the problems associated with sexual assault on campuses. Through his research Mike has found that this complex and sensitive issue is being approached in many different ways with differing levels of success. Mike hopes that through his research he may be able to provide some insight into which policy reforms may or may not be working and provide recommendations for successful strategies.

In addition to his academic activities, Mike has been a valuable part of the MPP team during his time with the program. He serves as President of the Public Policy Students Association and has been an integral part of the development of our social media efforts.

After graduating Mike plans on moving to Washington DC to pursue work related to his capstone project, or his interests in management and the federal government. In his free time Mike is an avid motorcyclist and outdoor enthusiast, often combining the two and taking long camping trips on his motorcycle. Learn more about Mike’s experience and contact him via his LinkedIn page.