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: Xiao Niu


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!

Name: Xiao Niu

Ideal Job Location: United States

Ideal Job: Xiao would enjoy working at a think tank or consulting firm because his ultimate goal is to perform timely research and give sound advice to enable policy makers to make good decisions. He is also interested in applying his skills to a policy research project, as he does at his current internship.

His studies and skill set enable him to do thorough policy work in a variety of topic areas, but he is especially interested in economic development strategies and higher education policy.

Work Experience: Currently, Xiao is completing an internship with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He is researching and writing a thorough literature review, performing data analysis, and conducting interviews for a project focused on dual enrollment policies. Dual enrollment programs allow high students to enroll in college-level courses that are often transferable to four-year institutions at no cost. This is also the topic of his upcoming MPP capstone project.

“This experience gives me a chance to improve my research skills as well as communication skills,” he says.

Skills and Academic Training:

Xiao has enjoyed the MPP program immensely. He notes that policy intrigues him because society and its needs are always evolving. He also appreciates the rigor required to perform sound, complex policy research.

The most valuable part of the MPP program for Xiao was the opportunity to engage and learn with classmates. He explains, “Your classmates are part of your education. We learn from each other, and realize that there are so many other perspectives on the same issue.”

For this reason, he has most enjoyed courses that involve discussion. This reflects his interest in the way policy findings and advice can be communicated to policymakers.

“In the near future, I want to learn from working. I want to learn more research techniques, learn more about the world and society, and learn more about myself. Then I may come back to the school to pursue a PhD.”

Xiao concludes, “My ultimate career goal is to become a successful policy researcher, whose insight and research could influence critical decisions.”

Faculty/Instructor Profiles

MPP Faculty Profile: Dr. Matt Grossmann

matt-grossmann-profile-2015.jpgDr. Matt Grossmann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director at Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR). He received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. His areas of interest include American public policy, interest groups, political parties, and campaigns.

His latest book, Asymmetric Politics (with David Hopkins) examines differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. He is the author and co-author of several other books and numerous peer-reviewed articles. Organizations Dr. Grossmann has done work for include the Center for Democracy and Technology, the British Parliament in London, and FairVote.

Professor Grossmann enjoys teaching courses that are closely tied to current events. These include courses related to policymaking at the beginning on new administrations or legislative sessions. He also enjoys teaching Campaigns and Elections when national elections are ongoing.

Grossmann finds that there is strong interest among the general public in the differences between the major parties and how they have changed over time.

Grossman became Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research in January 2016. A few highlights of IPPSR’s work include its political training and education programs, survey research center (including the State of the State Survey), and expanding policy research. Several Masters of Public Policy students are currently working at IPPSR in different capacities.

Advice for Students

Dr. Grossmann suggests that students explore different policy areas. He recommends that they find one to develop expertise in that plays out at each level of government, but in which there are not already many experts.

He continues, “Take advantage of being in the state capital region by meeting people, going to events, and learning about ongoing policy debates.”

Students should supplement their coursework with their own readings. Grossmann suggests the website http://polisci.indiana.edu/Syllabi_project/syllabi.html as a guide for readings on parties and interest groups.

Finally, students who are developing capstone project ideas or thinking about them for next year’s Forum are encouraged to visit IPPSR’s state policy page for data.

Students can also stop by 313 Berkey each Friday at 2:30 for tea, snacks, and information about IPPSR.

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.


Internships, Student Profiles

MPP In the Summer, The Places They Go: Alexa Malesky

Alexa Malesky

Alexa Malesky is a linked-student in Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program who will complete her degree in 2017. Being a linked student, Alexa graduated in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science Pre-Law while concurrently working on her master’s degree.  This summer, Alexa has been interning with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as an education policy intern, and has had many opportunities to utilize what she has learned in the classroom in her internship.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy seeks to improve the quality of life for Michiganders by developing research and promoting these findings in the policy area. The organization focuses on enhancing individual citizen’s liberty and independence, a stance that Alexa fully supports.

Through her internship, Alexa has been tasked with collecting demographic, financial, and academic data to enhance research tools. She has also had the opportunity to write for the weekly publication, the Michigan Education Digest. Most recently, she has been updating the superintendent contract database and researching Detroit charter school transportation practices. These experiences have allowed her to get an inside look at the workings of a think tank and expand her knowledge of education policy. She has also been exposed to fiscal, labor, and economic policy through the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Intern University, which holds a weekly speaker series that provides interns the opportunity to listen to and network with prominent speakers in various areas of policy.

Alexa has been enjoying her internship and is very grateful for the experience she has received this summer. Her career goal has been to work in a state policy think-tank, and her internship has helped confirm this goal. Her internship has helped her grow as a professional while also solidifying her passion for education policy. She looks forward to the rest of the summer and is excited to see what other experiences she can gain from her internship.


2016 Capstone Posters Show Off MPP Students’ Breadth of Interests, Depth of Analytical Skills

April 14 was in many ways the culmination of everything that graduating students in MSU’s Master of Public Policy program have learned and worked on over the last two years. At the Capstone Research Forum, held in MSU’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MPP second-year students showed off posters highlighting key findings from their capstone research projects, which addressed a diverse range of topics, from pensions in rural China to municipal finance in Michigan.

If you couldn’t make it to the forum—or if you did, and want to revisit some of the research presented—here’s your chance to see our students’ excellent posters. Click on the titles below to view full-sized PDF files of the posters.

The Ripple Effect: Collaborative Watershed Governance and Social Learning
by Julie Cassidyjulie

Does China’s New Pension Policy Crowd out Children’s Support for Their Parents?
by Shuting Deng


Importing Economic Vitality: The Entrepreneurial Role of Michigan’s Immigrants
by Abram Huyser-Honig


The Impact of Foreign-Born Populations on Michigan’s Economy
by Juan Loaiza


How Michigan Failed Flint: A Tragedy in Three Decisions
by Daniel Casey-Dunn


Reassessing the Certificate of Need Controversy: Has Market Regulation of Healthcare Services Helped Contain Costs in Michigan?
by Mike Cnossen


Reducing Racial Disparities in Healthcare Coverage
by Lauren Faulkner


Has the Post-9/11 GI Bill Improved Education and Employment OUtcomes for Post-9/11 Veterans?
by Haoshu Duan


The Effects of Energy Efficiency Policies on Electricity Consumption and Rates
by Eric Houghtaling


Assessing the Love Affair Between China and Africa: Popular Perceptions of China’s Involvement in Africa’s Development
by Eva Tetteh


If Detroiters See It, Will They Pay? Income Tax Compliance and City Services
by Sean Tobin


Exploring How Sub-Saharan Africa Nations Can Improve Primary School Completion Rates
by Pauline Wambua


From Warfighter to Crimefighter: The 1033 Program and Police Militarization
by Sean Weston


Hidden Costs of China’s One Child Policy Reforms: Finite Resources and Gender Imbalance
by Xiaodi Zhu


Internships, Student Profiles

MPP in the Summer, The Places They Go: Abram Huyser-Honig


Abram Huyser-Honig will be graduating from Michigan State University’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program in spring 2016. He joined the program last fall after a decade of working in the nonprofit sector in Central America.

This summer Abram is working with the Analytics and Strategic Projects team at MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. He works closely with ASP director Corey Washington and Research Administrator Harriet McTigue (a 2013 grad of the MPP program) to help MSU leadership make better-informed decisions regarding hiring, compensation, and academic and research priorities, based on hard data and statistical analysis. Abram’s work involves gathering data from a wide variety of MSU databases as well as external sources such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Reporter and Google Scholar, cleaning and combining this data, while using a variety of analytical methods to answer questions like “What areas of medical research would it be most strategic for MSU to focus on in the coming years?” and “Which departments are most successful at obtaining federal grants, and why?”

Over the summer Abram has also continued his ongoing work as an editorial consultant to Revistazo.com, an investigative news website published by the Transparency International chapter in Honduras. An unprecedented protest movement has swept the country in recent months, born out of widespread public frustration with corruption. Revistazo has played an important role in bringing to light the details of corruption scandals implicating some of the highest-ranking elected officials in Honduras; the site has experienced nearly 100,000 visits in recent months, has generated thousands of shares and comments on social media, and several of its investigations have been reproduced by the country’s print, television, and radio news media.