Category: Policy Perspectives

Title: A Passion for Service

Joseph Schartz (MPP’18)

Joseph Schartz (MPP’18), a South Dakota native, has always made the practice of providing for his community a top priority, on both a local and large scale.

While a student at McCourt, Schartz interned for Senator John Thune (R-SD) of his home state, and he has also served on the South Dakota Board of Regents. While finishing his program at Georgetown, Schartz was also asked to serve as director of communications for South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley on his gubernatorial campaign. As a result, Schartz enrolled in his final semester at McCourt with virtual courses to allow for the role.

“I’m forever grateful to Georgetown for taking the leap of faith and helping me pursue my passion for public service.”

Joseph Schartz (MPP’18)

“I’m forever grateful to Georgetown for taking the leap of faith and helping me pursue my passion for public service,” Schartz said.

After graduating, Schartz joined the Alzheimer’s Association’s South Dakota chapter as director of public policy, lobbying at the federal and state levels to improve Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Schartz said he continually drew from his McCourt experiences in the position.

He testified several times before the South Dakota legislature on the impact of isolation on people with Alzheimer’s and dementia during the pandemic. He helped secure funding for facilities to enable safer visitation. “The experience opened my eyes to the challenges posed by this costly and burdensome public health dilemma,” Schartz said.

He recently pivoted to a different form of public service. Following in the footsteps of his Marine grandfather, he joined the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) with support from McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian and Associate Dean Leslie Evertz on his application.

He began training this January and was commissioned in March, receiving a Special Achievement Award and designation on the Commanding Officer Honor List for graduating in the top ten percent of his class. He’s currently training at the Basic School, where he will receive his military occupational specialty.

“OCS was a life changing experience, filled with challenges that helped me grow physically, mentally and spiritually,” Schartz said. “I cherish the life of this nation more than my own and am honored to serve in our country’s ‘first to fight’ branch — the United States Marine Corps.”