Talk about an involvement or experience—internship, job, volunteer position or otherwise—that’s deeply shaped you.
When I was 17, I went to Sierra Leone for three weeks to work on a school and volunteer in the community of Kabala. Girls and boys who would later attend the school came and worked alongside us, voicing their excitement and anticipation of having a school nearby
I saw poverty, but I rarely saw despair. I realized that although hard work and dedication are important, we also benefit from things beyond our control. That experience shaped how I look at the world because I know that I should appreciate and embrace the opportunities that come to me, rather than take them for granted.
What brought you to Batten?
As I was looking at degree programs, Batten caught my eye because the program emphasized a balance of quantitative and qualitative skills that could be applied in any field of policy. I liked that I didn’t have to choose a focus, but that I could take electives from different schools in order to hone my knowledge as I saw fit.
How has your experience at Batten changed or shaped your perspective?
I’ve become more aware of the source of information and how it’s presented. Information sources are subject to biases, as are our interpretations of the information we receive. While I still don’t necessarily accept all sides of an issue, Batten has helped me realize that there is more than one side of an issue, and often more than two sides. I think it’s important to see and be able to critically analyze any side of an issue.
What kind of public servant do you think the world needs today?
The world needs public servants who are empathic but action-oriented. Too often we disregard the value of empathy in policy. Empathetic leaders and public servants are better prepared to engage constituents, opposition and colleagues in a way that focuses on addressing the problem and understanding perspectives. By combining empathy and action, we can better confront public policy issues.
Talk about your life and interests outside of school.
When I can get away from school work, I love to be outdoors, whether hiking, rock climbing or just enjoying fresh air while I bike to class. I have two cats, Tarzan and Jane, who keep me company as I study. I’m passionate about women’s issues around the world, particularly reproductive justice and maternal health.
In 10 years, how do you hope the policy landscape has changed at large? And at the community level?
I hope the policy landscape at large and at the community level has changed to be more representative of women and minority groups. Without understanding or acknowledging that a discrepancy exists, we perpetuate standards that are not necessarily to the advantage of society. We need to be open to discussion about the inequities that exist in order to more fully recognize the impact of policy across the board.
Which issues do you think the 21st-century policymaker needs to pay special attention to?
The 21st-century policymaker needs to pay special attention to how technology impacts information collection, analysis and distribution. As policymakers, we need to pay attention to the ethics of data collection and how we use that data to inform our decisions and our rhetoric.