This program is challenging, but I don’t think that we would have it any other way.
Why did you choose the McCourt School?
I wanted a program that balanced research and theory with practical policy making. When I visited Georgetown, professors talked about their research but they also incorporated stories about their recent Congressional testimonies and executive or legislative branch experiences into the class discussion. I love the different perspectives that you get from having professors who are researchers, politicians, journalists, advocates, and government leaders. The quantitative focus was also a major draw. Even if you don’t plan to do research that uses the quantitative techniques you learn at the McCourt School, you develop a firm understanding of the methods used in the studies that drive policy making. And the fact that all of these benefits were available in an evening program was unbeatable.
How has your experience at the McCourt School been so far?
In a word: amazing. This program is challenging, but I don’t think that we would have it any other way. Professors aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions or push students, but they’re always available to offer help, advice, or encouragement. Classmates are not afraid to challenge a point during a class discussion, but they’re just as quick to offer you their insight or suggestions. McCourt is a community of incredibly intelligent and driven people; the enthusiasm and the energy of the students, staff, and professors are contagious.
Have you taken advantage of the McCourt School’s DC location? If so, how?
The DC location meant that I didn’t have to leave the place where all the action in my field was taking place in order to attend school. The numerous (and often free) conferences and briefings by research firms and government agencies in the DC area are great ways to meet people and stay up-to-date with current events in your field.
What do you hope to do with your McCourt School degree?
The McCourt School provides students with the skills to design good policy and strategies for moving those policies off the page and into implementation. These practical lessons have already proven to be invaluable in my work in developing policies and programs that improve people’s health and wellbeing, and I’m looking forward to applying these skills in new contexts. I’m also excited to put the quantitative skills to good use by becoming more involved in my agency’s program evaluation and research projects.
What would you say about the McCourt School to a prospective student?
Talk to students, alumni, and professors. Sit in on a class or attend an event. The diversity of experiences that students and professors bring to the program, the quality and relevance of the courses, and the sense of community that the McCourt School fosters become clear right away.