Connections and Community In Public Policy

Haverford’s third annual Public Policy Forum invited alumni back to campus to share their experiences from working in different areas of policy, from education and the environment to healthcare and local government.

On Saturday, March 18, the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the Center for Career and Professional Advising, the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center, and interested faculty and alumni hosted Haverford’s third annual Public Policy Forum. The day-long event featured alumni panels discussing and digesting issues and experiences related to education, environmental policy, health, law and local government, and foreign policy (and also doling out some career advice). The forum also included a midday poster session showcasing student research from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, economics, education, and political science.

This year, there was a huge increase in student participation and attendance. For example, the 39 posters presented at the poster session represented a 50 percent increase from last year.

“I want students to realize that there are many pathways to a career in public policy and a wide variety of skill sets needed. It is not just a career for political science majors,” said Professor of Economics Anne Preston, one of the organizers. “The liberal arts education that stresses critical thinking and the interdisciplinary approaches to solving contemporary problems embedded in our new minors and concentrations are great preparation for a career in public policy.”

In her opening remarks, Jenny Bogoni ’88, executive director of Philadelphia educational initiative Read by 4th, cited her time in the Bi-Co as a growth of structures and cities major as a crucial period that introduced her to important interdisciplinary frames of thought. “Integrated thinking is the foundation of a lot of really good public policy work,” she told the crowd gathered in Zubrow Commons. “Public policy includes policy, protocol, and practice. We have to talk across systems and understand different policies in order to make systemic change.” She also urged students interested in public policy to learn about different disciplines and systems as a part of that integrated thinking.

More than 20 alumni from various professional areas spoke on panels, including former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce Bruce Andrews ’90, CEO of Global Program Management Inc. Molly Finn ’85, and co-founder and executive director of Puentes de Salud Steven Larson ’83.

The day ended with the Public Policy Forum’s keynote talk, a conversation between Andrews and Lisa Schiffren BMC ’81, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, that was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution David Wessel ’75. (Watch a video of the entire keynote talk below.) A networking event, facilitating one-on-one interactions between the student and faculty attendees and alumni panelists, followed.

-Jenny Ahn ‘17

Watch the full keynote talk:


Photos by Patrick Montero