PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

New Junior Summer Institute Prepares Students for Grad School

Posted on October 17th, 2016

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is excited to launch a summer fellowship program designed to help undergraduate students thrive in master’s degree programs and launch careers in public service. The Humphrey School Junior Summer Institute (JSI) is a rigorous, seven-week academic program that provides students hands-on experience in addressing society’s grand challenges. It’s part of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program, which is committed to promoting the inclusion of underrepresented groups in master’s degree programs and careers in public service.

“Many students are passionate about solving perplexing economic problems facing African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, and Southeast Asians,” said Professor Samuel Myers, Jr., director of the Humphrey School’s Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice. “This includes disproportionate representation in the criminal justice and child welfare systems as well as lower educational attainment, higher suspension rates, lower earnings, and poorer health care outcomes. Our JSI explores how conventional policy analysis tools can be applied to help solve these problems.”

The Humphrey School JSI is open to students who are entering their senior year of undergraduate study. The program equips them with leadership and management skills, problem-solving techniques, and an understanding of how to analyze data when making critical decisions to help address complex social challenges. It is tailored to participants’ interests, providing opportunities to complete field-based research and community engagement projects focused on specific issues that inspire them most.

“The most valuable parts of my JSI were the connections that I made and the material that I learned,” said James Chan (MPP ’14), who completed the Princeton JSI and graduated from the Humphrey School with a Master of Public Policy in 2014. “Spending seven weeks with other underrepresented students from across the country challenges your perspective, but also makes your PPIA experience an unforgettable one—one that you will carry with you in your public service career.”

The Humphrey School is one of five institutions around the country to host a JSI, which is fully funded and often leads to generous financial aid packages at participating schools. The others include the University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, and Princeton University.

“I wholeheartedly recommend that students interested in public service at all apply to PPIA,” said AshLee Smith Garrett, who participated in the JSI at the University of California-Berkeley and is currently pursing her PhD in Public Affairs and Master of Public Policy at the Humphrey School. “PPIA introduced me to a whole new world. I didn’t know about graduate degrees in public policy until then, and the connections that you will make with your cohort are invaluable.”

For more information about the fellowship program and details on how to apply are available here.