December 2014 Student Spotlight
December’s Student Spotlight with Vipul Rana (MPA ’15), Katie Hanna (MPA ’16), and Catherine Mayers (MS/MPA in Nursing Admin. ’17)
Each November, APPAM (Association for Public Policy & Analysis Management) gathers public affairs constituents from all over the country to engage in discourse, networking, panels, activities and lectures designed to inform and involve. We spoke to School of Public Affairs students Vipul Rana (MPA ’15), Katie Hanna (MPA ’16), and Catherine Mayers (MS/MPA in Nursing Admin. ’17) about their experiences at APPAM 2014.
How did the APPAM conference expose you to the latest updates and discussions in research, management, and policy?
Vipul: The APPAM conference exposed me to the latest updates and discussions in research, management, and policy by engaging me in multi-disciplinary research that seeks to address and bring light to current and emerging policy and management issues. Furthermore, these researches were conducted by professionals and faculties that provided different perspectives on different situations within areas of management and policymaking.
Katie: There were so many interesting sessions offered that I had trouble choosing which to attend! The conference was a great opportunity to learn from research and policy experts in my fields of interest, education and poverty.
Catherine: I always knew our nation wasn’t perfect but never knew that there were many, many issues to be addressed, from healthcare, education, income inequality to welfare and prison reform. The discussions and research in management and policy at the APPAM conference is really preparing the next generation of leaders. Since my attendance at the conference, I am more appreciative of our strong educational system and what Baruch offers especially to School of Public Affairs students.
Did your attendance provide you with networking opportunities?
Vipul: My attendance in the APPAM conference allowed me to widen my networking opportunities by interacting with faculty from institutions around the country, professionals from various industries within non-profit and government management and policy making, and current students who are currently conducting research on different areas of management and policy making.
Katie: The conference was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the country interested in the same topics I am. The many large receptions especially made it easy to network and connect with people. There were professors, students, and policy researchers from many different academic backgrounds, such as economists, sociologists, psychologists, education researchers, and of course other students and experts in public administration. This made the learning experience a rich and rewarding one.
Catherine: Networking is always the most useful aspect of any conference. As a graduate student and a first time attendee the interaction with other attendees was an essential part of the learning. My takeaway from networking at APPAM is that it is not enough to just graduate with the degree. It’s also necessary to get involved a local chapter, produce a good research paper by connecting the research with what you do at work, and present it sometime in the future.
What were the scheduled exhibits, presentations, poster sessions, and receptions like? What did you learn?
Vipul: The exhibits, presentations, and poster sessions helped me deepen my understanding of specific areas within management and polices. Furthermore, as a student preparing to conduct my capstone research project, I was able to examine the various approaches that all the exhibits and poster sessions consisted of, and the techniques presenters implemented within their research.
Katie: Most of the presentations consisted of 3-4 researchers each discussing papers they had recently written or published, but some had more presenters and were more broadly focused on a topic like the War on Poverty, rather than on specific papers. I mostly attended sessions in the areas of education and anti-poverty policy, and I learned a lot about new research in these fields. Some of it I’ll be able to immediately apply in my job, and some is less applicable to my professional or academic lives but was interesting for its own sake.
Catherine: The receptions were the most fun and educational parts of APPAM. At one of the receptions, I sat a table with two professors and post-doctoral students. There was a discussion regarding pollution and externalities. As a grad student I was able to fully engage in the conversation because I had studied chapter 11 for my microeconomics class the night before. At the awards reception, I received vital information from the keynote speaker which I plan to implement on a daily basis. Taking the time to develop these suggested habits can add value to my career path.
How have you benefited from meeting with School of Public Affairs staff and faculty members while attending APPAM this year?
Vipul: While attending the APPAM conference, it was an invaluable experience meeting the School of Public Affairs staff and faculty members because I took comfort in knowing that I am not the only one working towards management and policy making issues but rather receiving encouragement preparation and motivation to succeed on contributing to the solutions.
Katie: This was the first policy/academic conference I’d been to, and being able to connect with School’s faculty and staff during the receptions and in between sessions definitely made me more comfortable. They let me know what to expect and advised me on how to make the most of the conference. I really appreciated the opportunity to attend APPAM this year; it was a very valuable experience! Thank you Baruch College and the School of Public Affairs!