Policy-in-Action Project

Analyze a real-world, policy-related challenge or problem for a nonprofit, public, or private sector collaborating organization.

The Policy in Action Project is a semester-length professional capstone experience where you will be able to:

  • Test, practice, and augment the technical and leadership skills you will gain from classes or have gained from past experience
  • Build or grow your professional network
  • Pivot to new policy domains
  • Stretch yourself in a lower-stakes environment with the support of experienced professors
  • Contribute to meaningful change in a real organization or policy area

Throughout the project, students enroll in a class designed to accompany them in the process of producing a final deliverable under the mentorship of Brown faculty members and collaborating organization professionals. Students work in small teams and apply their skills to address policy-related challenges in a professional setting. Each project will culminate in a final deliverable that includes a set of actionable recommendations for the collaborating organization. Students will present their recommendations at a Policy-in-Action Project Symposium hosted at the Watson Institute at the end of the Spring semester.


What MPA alumni say about their project experience

My Policy in Action experience provided an opportunity to apply both qualitative and quantitative skills cultivated over the year to analyze a real-world situation… analyzing data and then synthesizing and communicating information and insights in a concise manner was instrumental in preparing me for my current role.

Anant Trivedi, MPA ’22 worked on a project with Greenmantle Consulting, a macroeconomic consulting firm based in New York. After graduating, he joined Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst.
Anant Trivedi

The experience of working in a team on my Policy in Action Project was very important to my professional development. The opportunity to practice and sharpen my skills in collaborating with team members in a work setting and putting together deliverables for clients on a timeline was highly valuable to me, as someone re-entering the workforce after having recently been in mostly non-traditional work environments.

Emmery Brakke, MPA ‘22 completed her project with the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education at the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University. After graduating, she joined the R.I. Senate Fiscal Office as a Legislative Fiscal Analyst.
Emmery Brakke

Views from our Partners

I expected the [policy-in-action project] presentation to be informative and precise, which it was, but the students’ ability and comfort answering unexpected questions from the audience demonstrated a deep engagement with the policy problem we’re facing. And I thought the recommended next steps were spot on.

Brian Thorn Director of Broadband Strategy, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Brian Thorn

Sample of previous PIA Project partners

  • Department of Education
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • United States Institute for Peace
  • U.S. Senate 
  • Maryland Office of the Public Defender
  • Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women
  • Office of the Governor of Massachusetts
  • RI Department of Health
  • RI Department of State
  • RI Governor’s Office
  • RI Office of Innovation
  • European Central Bank
  • OECD
  • United Nations
  • The World Bank Group
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Optoro
  • Bellwether Education Partners
  • FiscalNote
  • RI Infrastructure Bank
  • Afterschool Alliance
  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
  • Rural Investment to Protect our Environment (RIPE)
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • United Way of Rhode Island
  • Global Service Corps
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Oxfam
  • World Resources Institute
  • World Trade Center Los Angeles
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • J-PAL
  • The Policy Lab