By Nikki Lewis, MPP, MSW ’19
This year’s Spring Break trip to Washington DC, hosted by Global Public Affairs at Luskin,
included visits to several think tanks and research institutes. These informational visits opened my eyes to a new avenue for applying my policy and social work skills that would also appease my desire for a varied and diverse work portfolio. Pursuing a career with a think tank or research institution may allow me to work both domestically and internationally, and contribute to thought leadership that impacts policy and programs.
Organizations that the group visited included RTI, Aga Khan Foundation, Aspen Institute, and Mathematica Policy Research. Mathematica, a group favorite, stood out from the typical DC institution. In a city where many people switch jobs every two years, Mathematica employees often remain loyal to the company for entire careers. They offer employees the opportunity to engage in rigorous, yet impactful research projects that have a direct impact on some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as infrastructure, health, and child wellbeing.
As a dual degree student (MPP/MSW) I feel that this career path offers an optimal environment to utilize my two distinct fields of knowledge. My social work values of inclusion, cultural competency, and people-centered approaches will help me conduct work that can be directly applied to the improvement of programs. My policy knowledge of macro processes and qualitative analysis will assist me to contribute rigorous analysis and feasible interventions to the projects I am a part of.