Child rights, education, poverty reduction, private sector engagement in public affairs
The Clinton Foundation, New York, New York
Why did you decide to pursue your Master of Public Affairs at Brown University?
In the summer of my junior year, I spent two weeks at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where I was given wide, on-site exposure to the practical effect of policies on various stakeholders. The complexity and controversy of policy-making were made vivid to me and I decided I would like to learn more about policy. Ultimately, I decided to work at UNICEF Laos after I graduated in 2019 instead of enrolling in graduate school immediately. This transformative experience led me to explore more about child rights and how partnerships work in this specific environment. I helped produce UNICEF communication materials and publications, including interactive content and human interest stories, which gave me wide exposure to the complex context of promoting child rights in developing countries. I gained hands-on experience in supporting the office’s external communication strategy with a strong focus on media relations and partnerships. For example, we worked with partners and line ministries to organize the first-ever private-sector consultation on child rights and business in Lao PDR. This and other uplifting moments reaffirmed my determination to pursue a career in development. Brown’s one-year program fit with my plan to devote my time to intensive academic study. I also chose Brown because the MPA program provides individualized support and meets students wherever they are in their career path.
What sorts of career-building skills and knowledge have you gained since joining the program?
As a literature and linguistics major, I did not have a background in statistics or data programming. I had always identified myself as a humanities/art student and thought that I might not be good at these subjects — I found statistics and coding a bit intimidating. However, the two statistics courses in the MPA program (Statistics for Public Policy and Statistics for Program Evaluation) were game changers. I enjoyed those classes very much, thanks to the thoughtful and accessible professors and course assistants. I used my knowledge in social and economic statistics to understand public policy research and conduct policy-related analysis. With cases from various policy areas, we’ve performed statistical analysis and offered relevant advice to policymakers. I chose Data Science and Programming as one of my electives and I have used skills from that class to clean, organize, and visualize data during my consultancy, which will also be useful tools in my future policy work.