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MPA Student Interns at Office of Aging

August 8 Wednesday 08:28 AM

Ruthann Froberg is a Martin School MPA student who will enter her second year this fall. This summer, she completed her internship, a required component of the MPA program, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She shares her experiences below. 

This summer has been a fun and interesting break from my MPA coursework. The Community Action Council’s (CAC) Office on Aging, my internship location, is a part of the Knox County, Tennessee government that coordinates programming and resources for seniors. Their programs include Mobile Meals, a senior center, Grandparents as Parents, job support, and housing assistance. In general, I work at the Office on Aging with the Grandparents as Parents (GAP) director for half of the week and at the O’Connor Senior Center for the rest of the week. The work is a mixture of legislative and topical research, writing, data analysis, and meetings. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn in-depth about specific social issues, to interact with seniors at O’Connor, and to learn from the Office on Aging workers. And it has been fun to spend the summer in Knoxville!

Most significantly, this summer I have learned more about grandfamilies, families where grandparents (or other family members or family friends) have taken in children when the parents are not able to care for them. There are more than 2.6 million grandparents in the U.S. who are solely responsible for their grandchildren. Almost 4,000 of those grandparents are in Knox County where the Office on Aging is situated (statistics per the American Community Survey of 2016). A lot of the work I am doing this summer is to support the GAP director with any research and outreach she does in order to strengthen the efficacy of the program. Many of these grandparents search for economic and social support because they are unexpectedly parenting for a second time in their lives. I have appreciated the opportunity to learn about responses to this social issue and to observe how a county office and program director address such issues in their community My experience at the Office on Aging has helped affirm how much I love working with seniors and how much I want to spend my career advocating for their needs and concerns.

Congratulations to our 2018 Graduates!

July 6 Friday 01:51 PM

Congratulations, graduates! We honored our newest alumni with an awards ceremony on May 4th in the presence of faculty, family, and friends. Where are they headed next? Many of our graduates have already hit the ground running:

  • Eve Wallingford will take on a new role as the Legislative Aide to Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Councilwoman Plumin in August. She will be joining a bevy of fellow alumni in local government, both in Lexington and beyond!
  • Leah Byers is a Tax and Budget Policy Fellow for the Civitas Institute in North Carolina, which focuses on North Carolina state economic, electoral, and education policy.
  • Paul Kleier has accepted a position as the Community Development Asistant for the City of Blue Ash, Ohio. His work primarily focuses on code enforcement, planning, and zoning. Congratulations, Paul!
  • Ryan Kaffenberger is the new Research Director for Commerce Lexington, our local Chamber of Commerce.

Congratulations, class of 2018! 

Clay Congress 2018

July 6 Friday 03:09 PM

The biggest strength in this program lies in bringing together 50 students from so many different backgrounds. It challenges us to rethink how we make relationships and the notion that we can only be friends with those who hold the same opinions as ourselves. This is a big thing for people going into public service to think about and was really helpful for me personally.

- Participant feedback

In May, exemplary college students from around the country participated in the annual Clay Congress, which is sponsored by the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship. For one week, collegians gather in Lexington at the University of Kentucky with the purpose of learning the "lost art of negotiation, goodwill, and compromise." The Martin School is proud to partner with the Henry Clay Center by developing and facilitating programming.

Some of the highlights from the week:

  • A visit to the national headquarters of the Council of State Governments, which included leadership development activities;
  • Workshops and panel presentations on the policy process;
  • Bipartisan policy solution project

The policy project is a cornerstone of the program, and is meant to simulate the policy process. Students were placed in to subcommittees to tackle one of four policy problems-- immigration, health care, relations with North Korea, and net-neutrality/e-commerce. Students for each policy topic were placed in teams. The teams were assigned ideological stances and told to work together to find a solution, mimicking democracy in action. Participants often were assigned to ideologies that conflicted with their own, challenging them to better understand alternative perspectives. They also had the opportunity to weigh in on the proposals of other teams.

Doctoral students from the Martin School played an important role in the development of programming, and its execution. Pictured above are participants with doctoral student Andrew Sullivan (third from top left), who acted as an advisor and coach to students as they developed their policy solutions. We hope all the participants enjoyed their visit to the Bluegrass State! We look forward to continuing our outreach work with partners like the Henry Clay Center. 

A Conversation with Our Newest Faculty Member

June 28 Thursday 02:36 PM

We are thrilled to welcome Annelise Russell to our faculty! We asked her a few questions to get to know her. We look forward to collaborating with her!


Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Oklahoma (much to the chagrin of my extended Texas family!). I grew up in Norman, OK, went to college there, and then committed the ultimate sin and did my PhD at the University of Texas. I said as long as class was not held on the football field, we would be fine.


What made you want to come to the Martin School?

The Martin School offers both students and faculty a unique opportunity to collaborate on policy across disciplines and subfields. Too often we get into silos specific to our field, and it is refreshing to be in a school where there are so many different academic perspectives and approaches.


What are your current research interests?

My current research interest is assessing the different way policymakers communicate and the effects of that communication on both the policy process and representation. This means I now know way too much about the Twitter habits of our U.S. Senators and their staff.


How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is deliberately casual with high expectations. I want my students to feel comfortable working with me both in and outside the classroom. At the same time, I expect students to push themselves, ask tough questions, and contribute to the Martin School's high standard of policy research.


Why did you choose this profession/field?

I had originally wanted to become a sports historian, but decided a more stable career would be journalism. Go figure. I then chose public policy when I decided that covering women's basketball games and reporting on policymakers in Congress was just not going to hold my interest long term. I needed a career where I could merge my interest in communication and public policy, and that's what led me to study public policy and social media.


What is your favorite thing(s) to do in your free time?

Free time, what a concept! When I am not guilting myself into finding more work to do, I turn to sports (hence the sports historian idea). I will watch nearly any sport and will attend any sporting event if I have the time. I was a terrible athlete myself (my daily jog is still an unpleasant sight), so I admire those who have the coordination to pull it off. I also have a small dog, Russell (yes, that means his name is Russell Russell) who would argue I don't pay him enough attention.

Apply Now!

June 28 Thursday 02:04 PM

Have you been thinking about applying to one of our graduate programs? Don't wait! You have until July 15 to get your application in for Fall 2019. For our master's degree programs, you'll need GRE or GMAT test scores, two letters of recommendation, and a biographical sketch describing why you are interested in our program. 

If you have questions, check out the following links or contact Tanya Roodhouse directly! 

How to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions