Thanks again to Alex (Massachusetts), Fran (Chile), Harrison (Canada), Henri (New York), and Taylor (Michigan) for their contributes to this blog series, and to our community while MPA students.
What was your favorite class at the School and why?
- This is a hard question. I liked Making Government Work in Hard Places with Professor Jennifer Widner a lot - it is an applied class that follows a case study approach. We learned from policymakers from all over the world. In my year, we were lucky to have President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as a guest speaker. She spoke about the strategies to overcome the Ebola crisis in Liberia, and about rebuilding her country after the civil war. I also loved the Challenges of State and Local Health Policy with Professor Howard. She is a fantastic lecturer and has tons of experience as a practitioner in health. I enjoyed learning from someone with a perspective that goes beyond theory or best practices, with a focus on what is feasible. Also, Prof. Widner and Prof. Howard cared a lot about their students and were always willing to chat about our internships or job plans after grad school.
- Favorite class was Legal and Regulatory Policy Toward Markets with Professor Robert Willig - clear lessons for policy and implications of regulation follow from simple but clear models.
- I had many great classes! Probably my favorite was The China Model with Professor Rory Truex. It was an introduction to Chinese domestic politics. Was a big eye-opener and a fascinating look into how China organizes its government and society. I had just visited China as part of my policy workshop investigating North Korea, so it was great building off of that learning in this class.
- Quantitative analysis for policy makers and econometrics, while maybe not my favorite classes, were definitely the most useful classes for me. Prior to attending Princeton, I realized that I had some major quantitative holes in my professional toolkit and these classes really helped me gain confidence and competency in my ability to analyze data in a professional setting. My favorite class, on the other hand, was Policies to Address Gun Violence, taught by Heather Howard (the former Health Commissioner of NJ). Not only was this class incredibly timely in the age of shootings at Sandy Hook, Pulse Nightclub and Las Vegas (amongst others), but we had the opportunity to present our policy recommendations to the Governor of NJ’s policy teams at the end of the term.
- One of my favorite classes at the School was Implementing Urban Economic Development with Professor Steven Strauss. The class was mostly taught through case studies, both domestic and international. Through these studies, I learned more about using economic development frameworks in the real world - and understanding how the theories we learned played out in actual cities.
The picture is of retired Ambassador James Gadsden. He is speaking to our recently graduated Junior Summer Institute students. The MPA students who supported the JSI program and this blog series are behind him. Picture credit, Graduate Admissions Office.