Internships, Student Profiles

MPP in the Summer, The Places They Go: Xiao Niu

Xiao Niu will be graduating from Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program in spring 2017. Originally from China, Xiao moved to the United States five years ago to study Economics, also at Michigan State University.


This summer, Xiao was an intern at the Center for Elderly Legal Aid and Research in Beijing, China. The Center for Elderly Legal Aid and Research is a non-profit organization that provides free legal aid service to elderly individuals that are low income. Xiao was responsible for recording information of visitors and managing all existing records. As the only intern with training as a policy researcher from his MPP courses, Xiao was also able to help with the revision of research papers as well as make significant contributions to writing papers and designing surveys for the center. His responsibilities included helping researchers write literature reviews, collect data through surveys, and edit research papers. Specifically, he worked on a theoretical paper that focused on the future development of long term free legal aid service in China. Through his internship, Xiao learned the value of effective communication, as he had to work closely with not only co-workers, but also visitors that came to the center with a variety of questions and concerns. He also gained experience in how to best utilize the resources available to him, even if those resources may be sparse at times.

When he graduates, Xiao would like to earn a position as a research assistant for a consulting company, government department or research institute. In the future, he would like to become the head of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, which seeks to plan and manage China’s economy.