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Four to Attend Prestigious Public Policy and International Affairs Institutes
Four Syracuse University students have been selected to participate in the highly competitive Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) junior summer institutes.
PPIA is a summer program hosted by five institutions across the country with strong public policy programs. It promotes the inclusion of underrepresented groups in public service and advances their leadership roles throughout civic institutions. The program is designed to encourage participants to apply to graduate school in public policy, public administration, international affairs or a related field.
The four, all rising seniors, are Mamoudou Camara, a policy studies and political science major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; Tajanae Harris, an anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program; John Jankovic, a political science and international relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School; and Tyra Jean, a sociology (pre-physician assistant track) major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program.
Camara, Harris and Jankovic will attend the PPIA institute at Carnegie Mellon University; Jean will attend the PPIA institute at the University of California at Berkeley.
Camara, of Queens, New York, hopes the PPIA experience will give him insight into what graduate school is like. “Additionally, I’m excited to learn how Carnegie Mellon uses its research centers to revolutionize how policy decisions are made and implemented,” he says.
Camara, who was recently named as a 2019-20 Remembrance Scholar, is exploring two career paths: as a high-level official at the Department of Justice or a policymaker at the federal level. “Carnegie Mellon’s strong emphasis on quantitative analysis will not only teach me to identify problems but also come up with the solutions to fix these problems. These skills are essential in both my desired career paths,” he says.
Harris, of Dallas, Texas, will be participating in the inaugural data analytics track for PPIA at Carnegie Mellon (data analytics is one of Harris’ minors). “It’s the first of its kind from any of the PPIA summer institutions so I’m pretty open-minded in terms of what I hope to learn this summer,” she says. “I most look forward to engaging in conversations about how ‘big data’ is such a trendy buzzword these days but it is not the only type of analytics available, and how data science can lead to further marginalization of marginalized communities without proper attentiveness.”
Pursuing doctoral studies is in Harris’ future plans. “My studies here have led to interests in material culture, equitable community development and data science, so I want to pursue a research career that will allow me to explore those topics in tandem,” she says. “I would love to work for a global non-governmental organization like UNESCO.”
“In data science there’s this concept of ‘domain knowledge,’ where a data scientist needs to be aware of industry-specific practices and standards of her specific career field in addition to her analytical skills,” she says. “I think PPIA will be a great experience for teaching me the domain knowledge of how to use data analysis/ science in a public policy and international relations context.”
Jankovic, from Bronx, New York, hopes to develop more quantitative skills as he explores graduate studies during his senior year. He also hopes the PPIA experience prepares him for a possible future career in politics.
“I am very interested in public service and campaign politics,” he says. “I want to use my knowledge to elect a more representative government at all levels and work in offices with progressive values on the Hill.”
Jean, of Mooresville, North Carolina, hopes the PPIA experience will help her further solidify and achieve her goals of working within health care policy and reform to improve the welfare of underserved communities in the United States and potentially the international sector. “In addition to attending graduate school on the physician assistant track, I plan on acquiring a master’s degree in public policy. The PPIA program will provide me with the resources I need to be a competitive and informed applicant.”
Jean’s policy interests are geared towards public health, health care reform, international human rights, environmental justice and income equality.
“Throughout my academic journey at Syracuse University, I have become enamored with the idea of a public service-oriented career,” she says. “Ultimately, I plan to focus my future career path within the field of preventive medicine.
“The potential major health issues that are going to affect the future generation are going to need a group of health care professionals well-versed and educated in public health and policy. I believe this program will provide inspiration and the proper skill sets needed to carry through with health policy analysis in the modern era,” she says. “I also believe gathering a community of young, diverse, like-minded individuals is extremely beneficial and rewarding. It is our duty to be active and open to learning the policies that correlate to the changes we want to see in the world.”
The applicants worked on their applications with Michelle Walker, director of community programs in the policy studies program in the Maxwell School; Naomi Shanguyhia, assistant director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program and the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA); and Jolynn Parker, director of CFSA.
“We’re thrilled to have four students accepted to the PPIA institutes this year,” says Parker. “The program is a wonderful opportunity for students interested in careers in public policy, public administration or international affairs. The experience will give them very useful insight on graduate study in their field and will certainly shape their plans for their future careers.”
Benefits of the summer institute include all costs of the program, including housing, travel, tuition, supplies and meal vouchers, as well as a small stipend and a one-time graduate scholarship to any of the PPIA partner institutions.
Candidates must apply as juniors to be eligible for PPIA. The deadline for applying to next summer’s institute is Nov. 1, 2019. Interested students should contact CFSA at 315.443.2759 for more information.