PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

Seyron Foo

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Seyron Foo hopes his contribution to public service will be one that impacts constituents in a positive and inspiring way. His extensive experience in state legislature, from working as a legislative aide to staff consultant in different senate committees made him keenly aware of the need to change citizen’s view of public service.

A PPIA alum who attended the 2008 JSI at Princeton University, Seyron has recently returned to the Woodrow Wilson School to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Affairs. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2009 with a B.A. in Arts, Rhetoric and Political Science. He credits his experience at the Junior Summer Institute with changing the course of his career and post-secondary work.

“I thought that public service required a law degree, and planned to attend law school so that I could further pursue jobs in both state and federal government,” he reminisces. After his summer with PPIA, he landed a fellowship at the California State Senate, thus refocusing his plans.

Seyron has implemented policy to deploy electric vehicles in California and negotiated extensive legislation to address the foreclosure crisis. Now in his second semester as a full-time graduate student, he is building important quantitative skills in economics and statistics that will inform his future work. Most of all, he believes the network of colleagues with diverse experiences but with a common goal towards public service is a critical aspect of graduate school.

The temporary transition from a full-time career to graduate school was easier because of PPIA’s support, he says. “From waiving the costs of applications to the generous financial support offers, it alleviated my concerns of entering public service after graduate school with insurmountable debt.”

For anyone graduating college, his advice is to worry less about the future: “Looking back, I think it would’ve been important to be reminded that, when we engage in something we’re passionate about—when we’re excited by the prospects of the day because we know we’ll be doing something different—it all works out in the end.”