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Policy Terps Take Annapolis by Storm

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image of Dean Orr with 3 students
Dean Robert Orr stands with Mace Viemeister, Shivani Sidh and Aaliyah Matin.

Students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered in Annapolis for an evening of networking and career exploration. The Policy Terps in Annapolis event highlighted the critical role that state and local government plays in shaping public policy, strengthening communities and addressing societal challenges. Attendees reconnected with familiar faces and forged new professional relationships, learning more about the influence of state and local government.

For graduate student TaMoni Winston, the evening presented a valuable opportunity to engage with alumni and explore potential career paths. Mariam Ashraf, a senior studying public health science, noted the dynamic and diverse landscape of state policy and policymakers, and looks forward to building her future career. Graduate student Laura Ndou recognized the critical importance of networking in paving the way for student success.

Solomon Stephens ’22 reflected on the invaluable network cultivated by the School and expressed gratitude for the education received. “It's remarkable the alumni network we have and are building. I'm thankful for the education I have received from the School of Public Policy and hope to continue advocating,” said Stephens.

Dean Robert C. Orr reaffirmed the School’s commitment to advancing the public good, emphasizing the impact of its education on leaders shaping policy. Introducing House of Delegates Majority Whip Jazz Lewis MPP ’14, Orr remarked, “As we navigate all the challenges in our world today, I am deeply heartened that we have leaders like Jazz Lewis, and especially to know they acquired some of their skills from the School of Public Policy.”

They challenged my assumptions and gave me tools that made me a better public servant, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.
Jazz Lewis MPP '14, House of Delegates Majority Whip

Lewis emphasized the importance of policy in addressing societal challenges. Drawing from his own journey at SPP, Lewis recalled taking a winter course taught by Professor Betty Duke in public leadership, and another course taught by Doug Besharov. Lewis recounted engaging in spirited debates with Besharov, which he regarded as invaluable opportunities for growth. Reflecting on those classes, Lewis contended, “They challenged my assumptions and gave me tools that made me a better public servant, and I hope they’ll do the same for you.”

In reference to some of the hot-button issues currently impacting our society, Lewis expressed, “Ultimately, how we work through all these storied issues comes down to policy. What are our values? What are the problems we are trying to solve? And how do we go about it?” He stressed the practical application of policy tools in legislative endeavors, noting, “I actually use logic models in the bills I draft here in Annapolis... I just use the tools that were given to me from the policy school.”

The evening provided a valuable opportunity for students to network with alumni who play active roles in shaping public policy. Lewis pointed to the significance of student involvement, highlighting to the group that policymakers in Annapolis will lean on the School of Public Policy as they build and rebuild state government. “We’re going to need your innovative ideas at the table,” asserted Lewis. He ended with a call to action, urging students to consider running for office in the future, as there is a crucial need for strong leaders in state and local governance.

For Media Inquiries:
Megan Campbell
Senior Director of Strategic Communications
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