Ask Elise Johnson ’19 what type of policy she works on and she’ll tell you it depends on the day. One day, she may be looking at civil service systems across the country, and the next focusing on public health issues like the STD epidemic.
Johnson serves as a research associate at the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy), where she prepares reports and analyzes data to address management challenges in the public sector.
“There really is no one type of public administration issue that we look at,” Johnson says. “Every day I go to work ready to learn something new.”
The National Academy of Public Administration is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, congressionally chartered organization that brings together some of the best and brightest policy experts to help address challenges within the public sector.
Johnson initially interacted with the Academy for her Senior Capstone class, where she worked with a team to help solve a problem for the organization. She and her classmates researched data-driven performance management methods to improve the efficiency of intergovernmental grant programs, particularly those related to reducing poverty.
“I was able to form connections with the staff at the Academy and I learned more about what they do in their daily work,” Johnson recalls.
When it came time for her to graduate with her B.A. in public policy, Johnson’s professor suggested she apply at the Academy.
“I found that it really is a perfect fit for me because I get to work on all of these different areas in public administration," she explains,” she explains.
Johnson credits her time at the School, and as a part of the Public Leadership Scholars program, with helping her develop the skills necessary to excel after graduating, especially when it comes to approaching issues “objectively and really considering the impact of the recommendations we make,” she says.
You get to know your professors because they are there to champion you, to really make sure that you succeed, in and out of the classroom.Elise Johnson '19
As an alum of one of the first graduating classes from the undergraduate program, Johnson attributes the close-knit SPP community with helping her land her first job in the policy world.
“You get to know your professors because they are there to champion you, to really make sure that you succeed, in and out of the classroom,” she says. “They really did everything they could to help me achieve my goals.”