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Student Pursues Degree to Further Her Career with the U.S. Air Force

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Kate Kanetzky

Each student has their own reasons for deciding to pursue a degree in public policy. University of Maryland School of Public Policy student Kate Kanetzky chose to study public policy at SPP to become a better officer in the U.S. Air Force.

“When I joined the Air Force, it instilled in me a sense of service, which is also a major foundational characteristic of public servants as well,” Kanetzky says. “I was drawn to the opportunity to learn how one serves better and more efficiently.”

While at SPP, Kanetzky chose the specialization International Security and Economic Policy. “I became interested in international public policy specifically throughout my undergraduate studies in geospatial analysis,” she says. “It is fascinating to me how geographic spaces influence people who in turn have their own cultures, and then how these cultures interact on a global scale.”

Kanetzky pointed out several reasons the School of Public Policy stood out to her. “You are close to where a majority of this nation’s public policy is played out, so you can get an internship that will highly benefit your career development while studying at the same time,” she says. “Whatever your commitment to serve before you come here, you will leave being even more motivated to help others, to make the world a better place. Not only that, but you will be better equipped.”

I tell people all the time that I am incredibly thankful to be able to learn policy and public service from people who have lived it. I learn from stories, experiences, vivid examples of how real life unfolds, and that is what SPP professors provide.
Kate Kanetzky SPP Student

She says one of the best things about her experience at SPP was the access to people who know public policy the best. “I tell people all the time that I am incredibly thankful to be able to learn policy and public service from people who have lived it,” Kanetzky says. “I learn from stories, experiences, vivid examples of how real life unfolds, and that is what SPP professors provide.”

“Professor William Nolte has been especially influential to me,” she adds. “Not only did I internalize the critical concepts I learned in his intelligence classes, but he also provided helpful advice and guidance on career decisions I made outside of class. He cares about his students, regardless of what their grade or proficiency may be.”  

In addition to the faculty and staff, Kanetzky says she’s also learned a great deal from the specific projects she’s worked on during her time at SPP. “One of my favorite projects I worked on was a joint exercise with Russian students from the Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies,” she says. “I was able to learn valuable lessons about how to cooperate and work with groups who held different viewpoints. The U.S. and Russian students in this exercise had to participate together to produce a joint analysis tackling humanitarian concerns in Syria. It was inspiring to see two very different viewpoints converging to attempt to solve an issue that would alleviate the suffering of others.”

Following her graduation in May, Kanetzky will begin training for the Air Force. “I recently received my orders from the U.S. Air Force,” she says. “I will be undergoing training to become an airfield operations officer at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi immediately after graduation.”


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