Meet Our Students: Kylie McKee Wheeler

Kylie Blog

In the Master of Public Policy program at William & Mary, we take great pride in our students. Each person in the program brings something special to the table and we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on them whenever we get the chance. This is Kylie McKee Wheeler (’19). Kylie is a second-year MPP in the International Development Policy track, Vice President of the Graduate Policy Association, and Editor-in-Chief of William & Mary Policy Review. She answered a few questions for us recently.

  1. Where are you from?

The greater Hampton Roads area.

  1. What brought you to the William & Mary Master of Public Policy Program?

I’ve always had a deep admiration for William & Mary as a college institution, and when I decided that I wanted to pursue public service by earning my Master of Public Policy, W&M was my top choice. It is very cool to be able walk on the same streets as our founding fathers while learning vital public policy skills.

  1. What were you doing before you joined us?

Before I came to William & Mary, I worked for about five years in digital marketing, specializing in search engine optimization, social media management, and online advertising.

  1. What has been your favorite class so far and why?

It’s very hard to choose a favorite class because all of them have been enriching in one way or another, but I have to say that GIS for Policy Analysis with Professor S.P. Harish has been the greatest. I came into the class completely new to Geographic Information Systems and the software required for creating and analyzing spatial data in the form of digital maps. Now I feel like I have highly marketable GIS skills that will help me qualify for the types of jobs I want. Also, map making is just a really good time. 😊

  1. Who is your favorite professor/researcher you’ve worked with and why?

Again, it is nearly impossible to choose a favorite, but I am a big fan of Eric Arias, who is teaching a Latin American Political Development class in which I’m currently enrolled. His knowledge base and skill set have taught me how to put my quantitative research skills to good use in a way that works best for me and in a subject about which I’m passionate.

  1. Tell us your favorite place on (or around) campus?

I love the student recreation center. It’s a bit of a hike from Tyler Hall, but it’s the perfect place to get a good workout between classes and decompress after a long day of school, work, and extracurricular research/community service/professional development.

  1. Favorite thing about the program?

There are many things I appreciate about the MPP program here at William & Mary, but I particularly love the way in which each student is encouraged to make their graduate experience their own. There is so much flexibility within the curriculum that allows students to shape their policy concentrations. I also have a love/hate relationship with the quantitative rigor of the program because it pushes me outside of my comfort zone.

  1. What advice do you have for prospective graduate students who may be on the fence about applying to the W&M MPP program?

If you are looking for an immersive curriculum, small class sizes, and plenty of opportunities for professional development, please apply!

  1. Where do you want to go from here?

While I’m not entirely sure what’s next for me, I hope to work as a research analyst for a think tank or advocacy organization that has a mission of improving outcomes for needy families and children.

  1. What are your hobbies?

I love to run, sing, and data mine!

  1. Describe yourself in three words.

Dynamic. Compassionate. Short.

  1. Favorite book?

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read it for the first time in the 4th grade and I still think it’s delightful.

  1. If you could meet one person in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?

This is another tough one, but I think I’d most like to meet Eva Peròn. I’ve always been fascinated by that era of Argentine politics and she was such a driving force behind it. I would want to speak to her about the role of ambition in her life as a woman in the spotlight.

  1. If you could receive a message from future-you, what would you want it to say?

“You have children who are strong, kind, and loving, and you’re in a career that matters. Don’t worry so much about the future.”

Thanks, Kylie! Be sure to follow the William & Mary Public Policy Program on Facebook, Instagram (@wmpublicpolicy), and LinkedIn to keep up with the latest MPP news!

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