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Politics students spend block at Texas grad school and presidential library

August 10, 2009

Graduate school is a destination for many Cornellians, and students in Ethics and Public Policy spent a block in Texas getting ahead of the curve. The students were free to attend classes of their choosing at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy in Austin and at the Bush School of Public Policy in College Station.  They also conducted research in the LBJ Presidential Library, attended lectures and events such as the Barbara Jordan National Forum on Public Policy, and interacted with many students, faculty, and visitors, including a number of current and former diplomats.

Public policy class

Politics professor Rob Sutherland introduced his students to public policy graduate school courses and opportunities in Texas during Ethics and Public Policy.

Andrew Hill enjoyed attending graduate-level courses such as Modern American Political Campaigns, U.S. Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict and Humanitarian Intervention, and Race Policy. He came away from the experience with an appreciation for gaining real-world experience prior to graduate school, as well as for the many possible career paths related to public policy.

“Whether one looks for a career in sustainable development, city planning, politics, governance, or business, a master’s degree in public policy serves an important purpose,” he says. “I left both schools more excited and inspired.”

Mackenzie Case said that listening to the experiences of two former U.S. diplomats opened her eyes to post-graduate paths she hadn’t considered.

“Originally, I was only considering law school, however I still had the desire to have a career that involved international policy,” Case says. “This trip allowed me to explore the wide range of options within the Foreign Service. Although I am uncertain of the exact direction I wish to take, the Foreign Service would allow me to make a global difference and pursue my love of politics.”

Duncan Hughes said he’s long dreamed of becoming a Foreign Service Officer, and especially enjoyed meeting Bill Eaton, the LBJ School’s ambassador in residence, and Harry Thomas, director of human resources at the State Department.

“We first met the two while attending Ambassador Eaton’s class on U.S. Diplomacy where Ambassador Thomas was a visiting speaker,” he says. “In class, Thomas presented anecdotes about daily activity in the State Department and the National Security Council. Later in the day, each of the ambassadors talked to a larger group of students to drum up interest in applying. The encouragement I received in hearing from the ambassadors gave me direction that I couldn’t have found otherwise.”

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