Friends of the MPA and MPP! My name is Justinian Yi and I am excited to be your newly-elected President of the Association of Public Policy Students here in the SPP. It has been an amazing time to be a postgraduate student in one of the most respected schools of the world.
At the beginning of the Michaelmas Term, I was intimidated and anxious. I wondered how I wound up in a school surrounded by people I consider to be the gold standard of the world, academically and professionally. But not a single person in this program let that get in the way of us becoming close friends and great colleagues. That energy motivated me so much, I sought the best possible avenues to give back to the cohort and to the School of Public Policy.
The fact that a young guy from Arizona, without anything more than a feeling of newfound optimism and some internships under his belt, could eventually be trusted with the Presidency of APPS is a testament to the open-mindedness and the good nature of everyone in our program. That is a great starting point for an agenda that will build upon the hard work of the outgoing APPS committee.
Our team of officers is unquestionably qualified for their roles in the coming year. They have been working on initiatives including:
- A Public APPS Calendar
- Community engagement and volunteering opportunities
- Student networking and career skills development opportunities
- The next SPP Gala (April 3rd, 2020 – don’t miss it!!)
- Plenty more socials and an exciting follow-up to last year’s Edinburgh Trip
- Sponsorships and funding from outside organizations
- An improved Buddy System
- Networking with other universities in the UK
…And so much more! I will support my colleagues completely and tirelessly to make sure we can accomplish this new agenda for our cohort as well as the incoming SPP classes next year.
In Picture (L-R): Justinian Yi (President), Sandra Barletti Salas (Communications Chair), Gisele Leon (Social Chair), Domenica Avila (Community Engagement), Pankhuri Anand (Careers and Alumni), Portia Liang (Treasurer), Dení Portl Ramos (Vice President), [Not in picture] Victoria Rubio (Social Chair).
One of our newest efforts as part of the new APPS team is the SPP Political Campaigns skills development series. First organized by our outgoing President, Marcus, alongside a team of MPAs and MPPs, we are hoping to include a wider contingent of students and faculty members in the APPS events calendar. This workshop series will cater to those who might want to pursue a career in politics, among other goals, and will set the basis for how we develop additional kinds of events that will encourage greater involvement of the student body. The Dean of the SPP, Professor Andres Velasco, helped us open the inaugural event of the Political Campaigns Series in January with his own insights of running for political office. In the future, we plan to bring in guest speakers from the industry, additional members of the faculty, and of course more MPA and MPP students into the conversation for everyone’s benefit.
I would like to see the expansion of the Know Your Local format into opportunities for peer-driven support sessions. As someone who has been down the road of feeling stuck and understands the value of reassurance, I believe all students will be able to gain from taking time out of their week to sit down with each other. We will also see more student-led skills, policy, and current affairs workshops in the works for Know Your Local.
This year will also be our trial run of MPP cohort representation in the APPS committee. We are exploring representation options and how to align the MPP cohort with the leadership structure of APPS and will be in deliberation with the MPP class and the SPP Faculty on how to move forward with this. And no matter what, I will push for our committee to design the events and opportunities to be as inclusive and welcoming for everyone as can be. No student will need to feel like they are missing out from anything so long as they can join us in APPS events for the coming year.
To round this off, I want to say thank you to everyone in the LSE School of Public Policy for doing your part in making this school an amazing place to learn from. Without you all, I could not have advanced myself this far, this quickly. I truly owe it to the community that is the LSE. We are just getting started, but we are going to show the world how the postgraduate experience should be done.
I am looking forward to a great year ahead with the new APPS team! Together, we’ve got this!