Mark Conway ’10 MPP ’13 has always been passionate about policy problems. As a graduate student at the University of Maryland, he fought for issues that affected students of color. Look back to that time and you may find him at a sit-in protest on campus, drafting letters to University leadership.
“Seeing everybody come together with purpose—it was really powerful,” said Conway.
He recalls taking a stand alongside fellow SPP alum Jazz Lewis ’11 MPP ’14, who now serves as Maryland State Delegate for District 24 and is a candidate for Congress. Conway, too, has made leaps and bounds in his career since his days engaging in activism on campus.
He worked as a CitiStat analyst in the Baltimore City Mayor’s office before earning a promotion to deputy director. He served as executive director for the Baltimore Tree Trust, pursuing his passion for environmental issues. And, he ran a campaign for Baltimore City Council in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything about a campaign changes when you can't shake hands and look people in the eye,” Conway said.
He persisted, pushing his message out through virtual events and phone calls all the way through election day. The New York native also welcomed his second daughter during that time.
“It was one heck of a year in the middle of the campaign,” he recalls. “I didn't know what it meant for the world, for the city, and certainly for myself.”
The campaign was a success. For the past year, Conway has served the city of Baltimore as a councilmember. “It's been an incredible journey so far,” he said.
We need to look at ourselves as citizens of a greater population.Mark Conway MPP '13
In his role, Conway combines the range of experience he’s garnered in the past decade with his passions to serve Baltimore City. While at the School of Public Policy, he specialized in environmental policy and worked part-time at the EPA. In addition to his City Council position, Conway serves as executive vice president of the Chesapeake Conservancy.
“I've always had this environmental thread through all of the things that I've focused on,” he said. “I have to balance the social, real people-based issues and the environmental issues, which are often overlooked. I really do feel like we don't have a choice but to [focus on] both.”
For current students, Conway says not to be intimidated by branching out to multiple policy specialities.
“It's like riding a bike for the first time. You're going to fall. You're going to make mistakes,” he said. “Genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn are how you get more comfortable with the process.”
This winter, Conway will be the School’s Commencement speaker, inspiring the next generation of Policy Terp alumni. Even with the myriad of changes he’s experienced since his time at the School, Conway still looks back fondly on those days.
“To be here and to look back at those moments, to see where we are now and that there's still so much more to fight for—I'm just really honored to have that opportunity,” he says. “I hope that students who are fighting for issues on campus today take that same responsibility into the world when they become working adults, fighting for issues across the city or a state or even a country or the world. We need to look at ourselves as citizens of a greater population.”