Photo of a snowy Georgetown campus
Category: University News

Title: A Year of Growth and Impact at McCourt

The McCourt School of Public Policy has had a stellar year and grew in a variety of transformational ways in 2019.

The McCourt School welcomed Maria Cancian as the new dean this year, as well as its largest class of incoming students. Its Institute of Politics and Public Service also facilitated a campus visit with Mark Zuckerberg and hosted a climate forum with more than 10 presidential candidates.

McCourt students also learned the ingredients for meaningful change from world-famous chef and humanitarian José Andrés. Guided by Cancian’s leadership, the McCourt School has worked hard to deepen its ongoing commitments to impact, innovation, inclusivity, and infrastructure.


McCourt is occasionally referred to as a community of “impatient changemakers” because students often refuse to wait until they graduate to make meaningful change in the world.

This year, for example, after learning that DC asthma rates are among some of the highest in the nation, students Lina Stolyar (MPP ‘20) and Emilia Calma (MPP ‘20) set out to identify a way to help DC residents.

Through the school’s Public Policy Challenge, the McCourt students started an effort called “Breathe Easy,” which helps community health workers facilitate home visits, identify environmental triggers that can exacerbate asthma symptoms, and provide families with resources and long-term managed care plans.

In addition to such inspiring students at McCourt, the alumni, faculty and research centers have also been hard at work designing policy recommendations and research to help address some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Assistant Professor NaLette Brodnax conducted research around ways to help increase the number of women enrolled in technology courses. The McCourt School’s Center on Education and the Workforce published a helpful and timely resource that explains the terminology you should know when talking about free college. These examples are just a few from a long list of impressive research and policy analysis.


As the complexities of the world evolve, so too does the need for effective policy and evaluation. 

This is why the McCourt School cultivates a spirit of innovation and intellectual curiosity through a variety of experiential learning opportunities such as the global residency program in Costa Rica. 

McCourt’s curriculum committee continuously revisits the advanced policy training offered to ensure graduates have the skills that are in demand in today’s policy marketplace. Recruiting new and influential McCourt faculty, with broad academic and policy experience, reinforces McCourt’s commitment to creating dynamic experiences inside and outside the classroom that prepare students for careers of impact.   


Educating the whole person, a value at the center of a Jesuit education, requires a welcoming community with opportunities for new experiences and thoughtful exploration. 

From hosting speakers with different political views to welcoming the inaugural cohort of National Urban Fellows to the Master of Policy Management program, the McCourt School is committed to creating the most inclusive community possible. This year, McCourt expanded its partnerships and identified ways to strengthen relationships with the community it serves. 

In 2020, McCourt will continue to recruit faculty and host speakers from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints to expand honest and civil discourse. As Cancian says, the best policy leaders know the value of diverse viewpoints as well as the importance of creating an inclusive space to foster ideas, discussion, and community.


McCourt made significant advances and investments in infrastructure in 2019. 

Over the summer, the School announced a series of new hires and structures, and reorganized its professional staff, to deepen its impact and position McCourt for growth. McCourt welcomed 16 new staff members, 280 new students, and expanded its full-time and research faculty, which has increased by 35 percent since 2013.

This year, McCourt launched a new website designed to share impact stories, highlight McCourt Ambassadors, feature research from faculty and centers, and help current and prospective students learn more about what they can do with a McCourt degree.  

In 2020 and beyond, it will advance its commitment to investing in leading-edge infrastructure worthy of the mission, uniting McCourt’s students, research, professional staff, resources, and programming in one place. 

The Capitol Campus, the eventual home of the McCourt School, will for the first time ever unite all of McCourt’s research, students, professional staff, resources, and programming in a single place. The new Capitol Hill location will enhance learning and deepen the connection between Georgetown and the policy community.