Why Did I Choose Batten, Part 2

Each year, Batten admits high caliber, diverse students into a community grounded in academic excellence, evidence-based decision making, and the integration of multiple lenses and perspectives, towards the ultimate goal of cultivating ethical and enlightened leaders who are catalysts for positive, lasting change. Recent alumni RJ Rhodes sat down with two current Master of Public Policy students to see why they chose the Batten School. You can find part 1 of this series here

Sebastian Singh  

Image of Sebastian

Sebastian Singh is a member of Batten’s Accelerated Master of Public Policy 2024 cohort and received his undergraduate degree from UVA with a major in Economics and a minor in Public Policy and Leadership. Not only is he an excellent student, he is also actively engaged in changing the world around him for the better. Sebastian works in the Public Engagement in Governance Looking, Listening, and Learning Laboratory within the Batten School, or “PEGLLLLab” for short. This research lab is headed by Batten professor Dr. Brian Williams, and you can learn more about it here! Let’s read about why he chose Batten below: 

“For as long as I can remember, I have aspired to improve the world around me. Today, we not only have a responsibility to participate in civic affairs, but also an opportunity. An opportunity to collaborate with communities to co-create a shared vision of policy. An opportunity which sparked my interest in the collaborative policymaking space that Batten offers. One of the primary reasons I was drawn to the Batten School is because of its rich legacy of excellence in leadership and public policy education. Established as a cutting-edge institution, the Batten School has a strong foundation in cultivating leaders who are equipped to tackle real-world challenges. The school's faculty members are distinguished scholars and practitioners, who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the classroom. Moreover, Batten’s interdisciplinary curriculum is a key factor that sets it apart from other institutions. By integrating diverse fields such as economics, political science, ethics, and data analytics, the program equips students with a comprehensive toolkit to address multifaceted policy issues. This holistic, experiential approach not only broadens our perspective but also encourages critical thinking and fosters innovative solutions to real-world problems. The curriculum's emphasis on evidence-based decision-making aligned perfectly with my desire to champion policies based on sound research and data, ensuring the policies I advocate for are effective and sustainable. 

Ultimately, the school's esteemed reputation, interdisciplinary curriculum, commitment to experiential learning, and emphasis on principled leadership make it the ideal institution for nurturing the skills and knowledge necessary to become a transformative leader in the realm of public policy.” 


Andrew “Drew” Washington 

Andrew Washington

Our next spotlight is on Andrew “Drew” Washington. Drew is a 2022 graduate of Furman University, and a member of the 2024 Master of Public Policy cohort. Drew has wasted little time acclimating himself to the Batten community. He is a very friendly face that you can often catch in Garrett Hall. With his high energy and passionate spirit, Drew is one the many students that makes Batten a more welcoming community. Let’s read about what led him to the school below: 

I chose Batten because I have always had a passion for pursuing a career in public service. I specifically want to devise ways in which marginalized and underserved communities can obtain the ability to enhance their economic upward mobility. Particularly, I wish to solve issues that come with disparity in the K-12 public education system, as I feel this is a key component to promoting upward mobility in underserved communities, especially communities of color. I knew that the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy would provide me with the tools and skillset to be able to tackle these difficult issues in the real world. Along with its prestige, Batten also possesses a very welcoming community in which students and professors work in unison and individuals have a constant support system to lean on! Even though Batten is a school that provides a great challenge, there is no fear in not getting things right the first time because there will always be someone to lift you up!” 
Think Batten might be the place for you? Make an appointment with a member of the admissions team or make a plan to attend one of our fall Open Office Hours every Friday from 2:00-4:00 PM in Garrett Hall Room 203 to learn more about our Master of Public Policy from current Batten students.