#wmMPP Year In Review

The 2017-2018 school year was a fantastic one for the Public Policy program at William & Mary. From orientation to commencement, our students, faculty and staff made sure to make the most of every moment. Now that we’ve had some time to sit back and breathe after finals and the excitement of the end of the spring term, it’s time to reflect on some of the wonderful things that happened over the course of the year!

Orientation and the Fall Barbecue

New student orientation is always a bit of a whirlwind for incoming MPPs. We like to hit the ground running with comprehensive introductions to law classes, math bootcamp (PUBP 500), social events like happy hour at the Corner Pocket, and a ropes course for the ultimate team building experience! (Photo credit for ropes course slideshow: Sophie Correll)


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Orientation week is both a lot of fun and a lot of work. It provides an accurate representation of the level of commitment and effort students will need in the program and gives new MPPs a head start with getting to know their fellow students.

While not part of orientation week proper, another fun annual event is the fall cookout, hosted at our partner’s beautiful space (including yard and porch!), the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. This year’s event was made even better with a Louisiana-style crawfish boil, courtesy of Austin Baehr (MPP ’18).


Austin cooking the crawfish! (Photo Credit: Sophie Correll)

Washington, DC Program

With a campus less than 3 hours from D.C., our students get to spend a good amount of time exploring the U.S. Capitol City and seat of the federal government where so much policy work happens. One huge opportunity to learn about the various career paths and opportunities in D.C. is the annual Washington Program. This is a 3-day intensive experience for first-year MPPs that takes them everywhere from the Supreme Court, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), and USAID. Highlights of last year’s Washington Program were meeting with Justice Alito’s law clerks, spending time with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, watching the oral arguments for Jennings v. Rodriguez in the Supreme Court, and learning from alumni who live and work in different policy fields in the D.C. area. (Photo credit for Washington Program Slideshow: Kylie Wheeler, MPP).


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Tribe Football may have fallen to the JMU Dukes this year in the big Homecoming game, but that didn’t stop Public Policy students, alumni, and the entire W&M community from enjoying an amazing weekend. Mark your calendars now for Homecoming 2018, October 18-21.


Photo credit: Sarah Fowkes

Policy Research Seminar (PRS) Presentations and Fall Board Meeting 

As part of the program’s emphasis on real-world policy experience, all second year MPP students complete a research and consulting project for professional clients in Williamsburg, James City County, and beyond. Examples of projects this year include research on coastal flooding in Southeastern Virginia for Virginia Sea Grant and Wetlands Watch, (other examples?)…

Second years had the opportunity to present their PRS posters to Public Policy board members at the annual fall board meeting in November to great acclaim. In addition to PRS presentations, board members had a wonderful time visiting with each other, current students, and faculty. It is always a pleasure to host the Board of Advisors, and we thank them for their support of the program!


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Charter Day

This year on February 9, W&M celebrated its 325 years since the charter that started it all! Even the birds were in on the excitement, as evidenced by this hawk photographed by Public Policy Program Director John Gilmour. #wmCharterDay


Photo Credit: John Gilmour

15th Anniversary of the Schroeder Center for Health Policy

Earlier in the spring, we had the pleasure of celebrating 15 years since the founding of the Schroeder Center for Health Policy (part of the Public Policy program) through a generous gift from Cliff & Lois Schroeder. The work that has been done at the Schroeder Center over the years speaks for itself and we are so proud to have them as part of the Public Policy community. The anniversary celebration included several fantastic events, including a health policy panel we highlighted on the blog last month.

Commencement and End of the Year Festivities

Graduation season is always a little bittersweet for the Public Policy Program. While we are sad to see our students leave campus, we are thrilled for them to begin their journeys forward! This year was no different. One way we commemorate the end of the year is with the annual spring barbecue, hosted by the Graduate Policy Association and our friends at ITPIR, the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. Photo Credit: Sophie Correll

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The Public Policy Program had the pleasure of celebrating Commencement on May 13, where through their hard work, scholarship, and show of great character, several students earned awards:

  • Daniel Aboagye (BA/MPP ’18) and Peter Quinn-Jacobs (JD/MPP ’18) received Ewell Awards–given to well-rounded graduate and undergraduate students who best exemplify the virtues of a liberal arts education.
  • Emma Merrill (BA/MPP and future JD/MPP) received the Emma Owen award for excellence in public policy scholarship.
  • Abigail Motley (MPP ’19) received the Brenna Jean Vorhis Summer Internship Award–a $4000 grant given to an MPP who accepts a meaningful but unremunerated summer internship.
  • Jaya Uppal, undergraduate Public Policy major, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award–given to those who demonstrate characteristics of heart, mind and helpfulness to others.

All of our graduating Public Policy students should be immensely proud of their accomplishments. We wish them the best as they set out to affect positive change in the world in their chosen fields!

2018 grads cap toss

Graduating MPPs Celebrating Graduation. (Photo credit: Sophie Correll)


Good luck to all students who graduated this year and all who are returning in the Fall! We look forward to 2018-2019 with great anticipation and hope that you will continue to follow all the scholarship, activities, and fun the Public Policy Program has to offer. Please be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram (@wmpublicpolicy) and send us your updates! 🙂

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