I applied to Mundus MAPP at a really critical time in my life. I'd hit the pause button on what was, at the time, a decade-long career in political campaign work and lobbying. That career took an unexpected turn in 2010 when I lost my re-election bid to the Maine House of Representatives, where I had just finished my first term as an elected official.
While I was in office, I saw a lot of what one of my CEU professors would later term "faith-based" policymaking: take a set ideological stance as fact (often with incomplete or biased information as your framework) and fling policy ideas at the wall in the hopes that something will stick and improve things. I wanted a masters program that would help me develop a more analytical, methodical toolkit for how to approach and craft effective public policy solutions. I also wanted an international program in order to be exposed to new experiences, approaches, and ideas.
What I did not fully anticipate, but what ended up being the most valuable aspect by far of my Mundus MAPP experience, was that I would be spending my two years in this program alongside some of the finest, sharpest, most wonderful minds from around the world. I had the distinct pleasure of studying with tremendously gifted early- and mid-career professionals whose insight and experiences did far more than classes alone ever could have to expand my capacity to craft unique and competent approaches to policy problems. Best of all, I came out of the program with friendships in dozens of countries around the world and a robust, global network of fellow professionals to whom I can turn when the need arises. I cannot overemphasize how important this aspect of the Mundus MAPP experience has been.
As the Policy Director for a small nonprofit organization focused on health policy, I am responsible for crafting and implementing our policy agenda. I have to be nimble enough to react to rapid changes in an ever-developing political climate while also serving as a steward to our core mission and values. Mundus MAPP and my fellow students have gone a long way toward making sure that I am as prepared as possible in any given moment to tackle the challenges that we face while safeguarding the populations we serve.