Madeleine Toups

Madeleine ToupsHailing from Spring, Texas, Madeleine is an MPP second year here at Harris. She attended The University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Government and a Minor in History. Madeleine came to Harris straight from undergrad, except a brief time where she worked. She graduated from UT in December of 2015 and joined us at Harris in 2016. During that time, she did data cleaning and analysis at HealthSure Insurance, a Texas insurance company that insures mostly rural hospitals, and was also a legal assistant at CHA Law Firm, a Texas firm specializing in LGBTI family law/adoption/divorce/etc., where she did will and estate planning for LGBTI couples, as well as name/gender changes for transgender clients. Additionally, Madeleine worked virtually for USAID's LGBTI Office and GLIFFA Team to write a 35-page policy paper on LGBTI rural development in every country, and she worked as a childcare assistant at UT/Texas Capitol's Child Development Center. Over her summers in her undergrad, she worked in DC, spending one summer doing political finance work, recording and filing FEC compliance reports for over 20 campaigns. Over the other summer, she worked in finance at the Human Rights Campaign. This summer, Madeleine is working at two internships in Chicago. One involves doing research in pediatric asthma at the UChicago Medical Center and helping with public health and policy outreach in local schools, and the other is at Presence Health as a Government and Advocacy Intern, doing analysis on healthcare legislation at the local, state, and federal level. Her favorite snack is sprinkled donuts and she’s a huge fan of The Office.

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

To figure out the best way to stop sexual assault/rape and increase consent in adolescents' sex education. This is controversial topic in most states, so I wanted to learn how to use evidence-based analysis to determine the most effective way to help women and children's health and safety in terms of sexual assault prevention. Harris has the quantitative curriculum I was looking for and Chicago has ample opportunities for health and education policy.

What’s your favorite thing about Harris?

The student organizations. The variety of leadership opportunities in the first quarter was astounding. I particularly enjoyed interacting with second years through HSOs, especially in Women in Public Policy which provided a space for women at Harris to discuss their experiences on campus and in different industries.

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

When I met the students at Harris. They were driven and ambitious, while simultaneously helpful and genuine.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

Join HSOs! Take on leadership positions in organizations at Harris and across campus. You'll get to meet more people and learn more about your incredible classmates and future colleagues.

 

Andrew Mao

Andrew MaoAndrew is in Harris’ MS Computational Analysis and Public Policy program and going into his second year. He is originally from Beijing but is no stranger to Chicago as he completed his undergraduate studies at The University of Chicago where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computational Analysis and Performance. He has also been involved with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has not only taken courses, like Building the New Venture, but serves as a Pro-Bono Consultant in the Booth Social Innovation.  Andrew’s leadership experience is extensive, as he has experience in Chine Care, a Cultural Education Non-Profit organization, and the Graduate Consulting Club where he currently serves as the Program Director. Andrew is motivated in his studies by the cutting edge of data, analysis, and automation; he states “it's important to have strong leaders in fast-moving policy and innovative spaces so that the cutting edge doesn't end up hurting anyone in the name of advancement.” This summer, Andrew is a Product Intern at Narrative Science, an AI firm in the loop here in Chicago. If you’re looking for someone to indulge in flaming hot Cheetos with or just need someone to talk about Breaking Bad, Westworld, or The Last Airbender, Andrew’s your man!

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

The unique data-centered computer science graduate-level education.

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

HSO (Harris student organizations) really helps sculpt your identity on campus! Learn how to get involved in career advancement, Harris administration, Team Harris, and everything else the campus has the offer!


How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

The CAPP program is likely one of the most malleable and ever-changing programs at Harris. I'm glad there is an intention to ground my studies in the concrete and keep me honest when the theory overpowers the real-world applicability.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

If you're a CAPP student, you're only as nimble as your computing device! For all students, try and attack the challenges in front of you piecemeal so that the daunting tasks aren't as formidable -- learn some elementary STATA, R, statistical analyses, economic properties. It really helps to practice learning how to learn.

 

Tiffany Kwak

Tiffany KwakTiffany is a second year student in the MPP Program at Harris. Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Tiffany obtained her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Harris, Tiffany worked in the private sector. She decided to pursue her master's degree in public policy because she wanted to pivot into the public or non-profit sector, focusing on government innovation and urban planning. This summer, she completed two internships (most recently with the City of Chicago) and is working on an independent research project on autonomous vehicles. If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott’s Alien, or the TV show, Gilmore Girls, make sure to connect with Tiffany!

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris? 

I debated going to law school, but ended up having a greater love for data wrangling and policy research.

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

Everyone here has such diverse policy interests and backgrounds. It's been fun getting to know people - I always see people I've never met before!

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

When I was deciding which public policy program to attend, Harris students were the most down-to-earth and honest about their experiences. That's what made the difference for me.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

Don't be intimidated by the quarter system. Ten weeks may seem like not a lot of time to master difficult subject material, but you'll be surprised at how much you've learned at the end of each quarter!

 

Rodrigo Guzman-Sanchez

A fan of the show Deadwood and beef jerky, Rodrigo is another one of our Orientation Leaders in the MPP program at Harris. His concentrations in the program include Global Security and International Policy. He comes to us from Tucson, Arizona, and is definitely someone you have to meet! Rodrigo completed his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College, where he received his Bachelor’s in History. Since starting at Harris last Fall, he’s been fortunate enough to be a part of several activities and organizations, both social and academic, that have been extremely rewarding. Rodrigo has also taken full advantage of Harris’ fantastic Mentor Program, leveraging those connections into a part-time internship and many useful networking connections. Rodrigo spent some time working in the Cook County President’s Office as well as consulting before coming to Harris. When Rodrigo is motivated in his studies by his future career path and goals. This summer, Rodrigo is spending time at the Cook County Bureau of Technology as a Summer Fellow.

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris? 

The caliber of the school and the Mentor Program.

What is your favorite thing about Harris? 

My amazing colleagues!

How did you know this school was a good fit for you? 

Orientation.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

Go to the social events!!

 

Monica A Torres Valencia

If you are into working on topics such as poverty alleviation and environmental conservation, then you need to make meeting Monica a priority. Born and raised in Guadalajara, she attended the Universidad de Guadalajara where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is going into her second year in the MPP program, but prior to attending Harris she was working in the United Nations Environment Program country office in Mexico. While there, she was a project leader and consultant working on sustainable rural livelihoods in Mexico's natural protected areas. In her studies, she is motivated to learn as much as possible to help as many people as possible. This year she is looking into developing a social entrepreneurship project to benefit sustainable small-holder producers in Mexico. During her first year at Harris, Monica was part of the organizing team of the first Inter-Policy School Summit and is  this years co-executive director for event. She was also part of the board for the Harris Energy and Environment Organization and a member of Team Harris. This summer, she’s spending time interning at Oxfam America in Washington DC, where she is doing research on Food Systems. Make sure you join Monica for dancing outings when you get to Harris!

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

To learn quantitative skills, specially economics.

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

The people. I love the Harris family and the sense of community we create between us. People here are the most incredibly smart and driven people I have met.

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

I like the application process. No big essays, just three very concise and specific questions. I also had the opportunity to talk with a Harris alumni and he expressed Harris being the best decision of his life.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

The core will be one of the hardest things you will ever encounter, especially if you don't have a quantitative background. But don't forget to always ask for help, there will always be someone willing out to help. And don't fret to much with grades, take advantage of all the events the university has and go out to social events as much as possible.

 

Dylan Madden

Dylan MaddenComing to us from Wentzville, Missouri, Dylan is a second year in Harris’ Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program. For his undergraduate education, he attended Illinois Wesleyan University and earned his Bachelor’s in International Studies and Environmental Studies. Prior to coming to Harris, he worked in the private sector, and brings his experiences to his studies. At Harris, he is involved heavily in the Harris Energy and Environment student organization, and participated in events such as Harris Follies. This summer, Dylan is interning with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), working on several projects including defending and expanding the use of the Social Cost of Carbon by regulatory agencies. Make sure to meet with Dylan when you arrive at Harris, especially if you’re a huge Game of Thrones fan and want to talk about how winter is coming. 

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

I chose to come to Harris because of its combination of environmental and policy curriculum.

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

My favorite thing about Harris are my colleagues, and the opportunities that they present. There is so much to absorb here between the various cultures, issue-related dialogue, etc.

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

Personally, I've always believe that effective policy is the clearest path towards a more environmentally sustainable world, so Harris fit that belief perfectly.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

Participate! Attend events, be involved, be an active participant in classes. As with most things in life, you get out what you put in!

 

Zack He

Looking to talk Back to the Future or higher education? Then make sure you meet Zack, another passionate member of our Orientation Team! Zack is in Harris’ MPP program and he joins us from Shaoxing, China. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from Wenzhou-Kean University and previously worked at Yumi Technologies, an information technology company he started with a focus on wireless communication and system integration. Zack also works as the Marketing Director for Asian Policy Forum, and is familiar with event planning, marketing, social media, and coordination. In his studies, Zack is motivated by his passion for public policy. This summer, you can find Zack working with the University of Chicago Library as a Data Management Assistant. Make sure to chill out with Zack, who will talk to you about anything, from Harris to his favorite snack, carnitas!

 

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

I am interested in higher education and education policy and I wanted to learn quantitative skills and become a techie.

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

My favorite thing about Harris is our culture parties. Harris is like a big family. We've had Mexican Night, Japan Night, Chile-Peru Night, China Night, Colombia Night, Korean Night, and South Asia Night...and parties will surely go on!

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

Harris has a rather flexible curriculum. Every student can customize his/her own academic plan. Harris also has a very quantitative core courses, which I prefer.

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

You will be challenged, but it is alright. Don't feel frustrated about all the difficult concept. You don't have to grasp everything to get a fair grade. When you feel you don't understand what the professor is talking about, you are not the only one. Utilize not only the resources at Harris, but also resources from the whole UChicago community and the city of Chicago. Make more friends. Go out of your comfort zone and talk to people with various background and perspectives. Make your academic plan and career plan as early as possible, don't wait until the last minute. Enjoy the summer. You will miss it.

 

Matthew Jacobson

MatthewMatthew is from Corvallis, Oregon and is in Harris’ MPP program. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Philosophy with a Minor in Dance from the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to coming to Harris, he worked for the California Secretary of State and taught ballroom dancing. Matthew intends to pursue certificates in municipal finance and policy analysis, so he can offer plenty of academic expertise to students. He teaches for the Ballroom and Latin Dance Association on campus. This summer, Matthew worked as a Cook County Summer Fellow in the Comptroller’s Office. He survived the core with the support of his wife and her homemade chocolate chip cookies. Matthew has a passion for playing board games, so hit him up when you need a break from studying! Make sure you connect with Matthew during Day One!

Why did you choose to come to Harris?

I wanted to strengthen my quantitative skills

What is your favorite thing about Harris?

I enjoy the diverse and wonderful cohort.

How did you know this school was a good fit for you?

I felt it would engage my quantitative aptitude while valuing my unusual background

What’s some advice you’d give to new students?

Remember to keep a good balance in your life. It's good to do lots of things, but it's important not to burn yourself out.