Position: Graduate Student
Employer: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Current City: Baltimore, MD
What are you studying in your graduate program?
I am currently doing my Masters in Public Policy with a concentration in Evaluation at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am learning how to make policies that are positive and practical within the context of the American political system. Monitoring and evaluation is an important function to ensure that programs accomplish what they are designed to do.
What internships and positions have you recently held?
I have been involved in numerous health care policy projects. I work for the State of Maryland’s Department of Health, where I help with the implementation of the CDC Vaccines for Children Program. I also worked closely with the CDC on a project assessing the cost of Lyme disease to the citizens of Maryland. This summer, I am interning with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in Geneva, Switzerland. I help the organization conduct program gap analysis; we assess how countries are spending their resources in combating HIV/AIDS worldwide and identify potential gaps for improvement.
How did your political science degree influence your career path?
During my junior year at UH, I took a class with Dr. Justin Kirkland on Quantitative Research Methods. It served as a first preview to statistics and research methodology. From there, I took several classes both in and outside the department to gain as much statistical knowledge as possible. This served as the perfect link to policy analysis in my Masters. I use many of the skills I learned during my undergrad on a daily basis in my research today.
Do you have any advice for students who aspire to hold a job like yours?
For any students interested in becoming practitioners (domestically or internationally), I would highly recommend identifying one professor or alumni at UH who has the same interests as you do. Allow them to guide. This is not to say that you should follow their advice blindly, but these faculty are well-established in their respective fields and it would be prudent to draw from their experiences. Secondly, I would highly recommend that anyone aspiring to be a practitioner take a few classes in research methodology. There is a shortage of analytical thinkers in the field and this skill will serve as a valuable asset in distinguishing you from other candidates for field work.