Andrew Beeler, MPP Class of 2021

Andrew Beeler, MPP Class of 2021 and former Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, writes about why he decided to pursue his MPP at Harris and his experience running for State Representative while pursuing his degree.  

My name is Andrew Beeler, and I’m a first-year MPP student. After attending the US Naval Academy, I spent five years serving as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard two ships, deploying to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf. After completing my service commitment, I decided to pursue my Master of Public Policy at Harris.

My decision to pursue my MPP was informed by my desire to affect change on a large scale. While in the Navy, I felt I was a part—albeit a small part—of an organization that had a measurable impact on society. As I learned about the toolkit I would gain from an MPP, I felt I would be prepared to pursue careers involving leadership and change management at a larger scale. 

Harris has exceeded my expectations in three key ways: building my quantitative toolkit, introducing me to a diverse cohort of similarly motivated young professionals, and designing a collaborative work and learning environment to broaden my perspectives on policy problems. 

This has been invaluable to my perspective and development as a future policy maker. The diversity of backgrounds I’ve immersed myself in at Harris has been eye-opening: I’ve heard the experiences of inner-city school teachers, nonprofit startup managers, and major Department of Defense consultants—all within one classroom. Similarly, many students in my cohort have never heard first-hand experiences from military personnel, and being able to provide them with a different perspective has been gratifying.

Beyond my expectations of a master’s program, Harris has placed me into the broader University of Chicago network of professionals who serve as professional mentors to students across the university.  Harris takes seriously their role in developing and promoting their student’s professional goals, and it shows. 

A definitive example of this for me was when an opportunity to run for a State House seat in my home state of Michigan became available, the Harris staff was ready: the Student Affairs team helped me rework my class schedule, the Admissions team connected me with Harris alum and current students with campaign experience, and students in my cohort started making plans to come help the campaign in Michigan. Balancing campaign work, commuting back and forth to Michigan weekly, and challenging coursework would not be possible without the support of my classmates and the larger Harris team.

Leaving the military was tough: I left behind my family of brothers and sisters in arms.  However, Harris has brought me into a new family, and I couldn’t think of a better family to be a part of while transitioning from active duty to the world of public policy.

Read Andrew's full profile here.