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If you’re an admitted student who is moving to the city, or a prospective student visiting for the first time, nothing quite beats summer in Chicago. From street festivals to outdoor movies to beach days, there’s something for everyone. Plan your perfect weekend around these quintessential summertime events!

Movies in Millennium

Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most beloved tourist attractions. During the summer, locals and visitors alike gather on Tuesday evenings for the Summer Film Series. Bring a blanket, picnic dinner, and friends to enjoy an evening under the city lights. View the complete schedule here.

Street Festivals

Chicago is famously known for being a “city of neighborhoods” – 77, in fact! – and each neighborhood showcases its character and pride through seasonal street festivals. Foodies will enjoy the annual “Taste of Chicago” and “Taste of Randolph”, which showcase the city’s culinary delights. Chicago’s cultural neighborhoods come out in full force, from the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, to Taste of Greektown, to the Chinatown Summer Fair.

Music Festivals

From large festivals like Lollapalooza and Pitchfork to more intimate outdoor concerts, music fans of all genres will be able to jam the summer away. Take a break from unpacking your boxes to stop by the 12th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival this September

Architecture River Cruise

One of the best ways to see the city is taking a trip down the Chicago River, which cuts right through downtown and showcases the city’s best architecture features. Check out a great list of architecture tours here.

Promontory Point

After stopping by Harris Public Policy for a campus visit, drive five minutes east to Promontory Point. A scenic extension of Burnham Park, the “Point” provides a terrific view of the cityscape. End your day with a view of Navy Pier fireworks or a dip in Lake Michigan!

Check out a comprehensive guide to your summer in Chicago here!

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Part of your graduate school experience is shaped not only in the classroom, but in the relationships formed through your strengthening professional network. Our award-winning Mentor Program provides a structured system of meaningful connections between our students and policy leaders. Through a two-year program, students will collaborate with both their Harris peers and mentors in first-year affinity groups, followed by personal mentorship in their second year. This unique offering allows Harris Public Policy students to engage one-on-one with a professional mentor – bringing together academic and career pursuits. 

Interested in learning more about how the mentor program will benefit you as a Harris student?

  • Read about how the program was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Program Award by the American College Personnel Association for its innovation.

  • Check out this profile on Harris alumna and mentor, Marie Trzupek Lynch (MPP’96), and why she hired her Harris mentee, Allison Ryan Angeloni (MPP’11).

Head over to the Mentor Program page to read up on more FAQs! 

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Whether you’re trying to figure out where to eat with friends after a day full of classes or planning to grab a bite with your family, Hyde Park has a wide range of options. From cheap eats to fancier locales, here are my top five restaurants to explore in Hyde Park:

  1. Rajun Cajun: Indian food and Southern food all under one roof. Their combo meals are incredibly filling and enough to feed two people! One of the popular items here are the samosas, and you will want both the tamarind and coriander chutneys to go with them. The restaurant itself is a bit small but inviting. One of their walls is lined with photos of postcards that they’ve received from patrons who have traveled all over the world. Located at 1459 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615.

  2. Valois: Yes, it’s a cafeteria and yes, it’s cash only. Many already know about my love for this spot. It’s both perfect for an early morning breakfast before you trek all over the city and a really late lunch right after a three-hour exam. Valois has seen me at my best and my worst. There’s definitely a reason why this spot has been a neighborhood staple for a century (yes, you read that correctly!). Located at 1518 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615.

  3. The Nile: If you’re craving lentil soup and some chicken shawarma, The Nile has you covered. Their entrees are of massive proportions (legit can feed you for two days straight) and their baba ganoush is some of the best I’ve ever consumed. The food is fresh, there is hardly a wait, and it’s right next door to The Revival Improv Comedy Theater and also close to The Court Theater and the Smart Museum, making this stop a must if you’re taking in some of the arts scenes Hyde Park has to offer. Located at 1162 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615.

  4. Piccolo Mondo: This Italian eatery is easy to miss since it is attached to The Windermere apartments and is tucked away on 56th street - away from the hustle and bustle of 55th street. While their dinner menu stands on its own, I love walking over here in the morning to get some coffee and fresh, delicious pastries. Located at 1642 E 56th St, Chicago, IL 60637.

  5. The Medici: Last, but certainly not least, The Medici is another institution here in the Hyde Park community. Their menu is extensive and can fit any mood at any time. Whether or not you want a burger or a pizza, The Med’s got you covered. If the wait is too long at the restaurant or you would prefer to take your food to go, check out The Med’s Deli right next door. Located at 1327 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637.

Also not to be missed: LiteHouse Grill, Salonica, Kikuya, Siam Thai, Nella, and Harold’s Chicken.

Happy Feasting!

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Representatives met with UChicago students.

Chinese universities have long had a relationship with the University of Chicago and inform students about its world-ranked undergraduate and graduate programs each year. But for the first time this spring, the University of Chicago brought together leadership from China’s top universities to learn holistically about the university’s offerings and partnership opportunities.

UChicago Global and the Office of the Provost hosted representatives from 12 of China’s top universities from April 30 to May 4 to learn more about the university’s various schools and divisions, including the Harris School of Public Policy, the School of Social Services Administration, the Graham School and others.

Presentations were given by the Graham School, Harris Public Policy and many others.

Chinese officials spent time both on campus and across the City of Chicago to learn about students’ experiences and the academic programs that attract international students to UChicago. The University of Chicago has a strong presence in China with the Center in Beijing, which fosters collaboration between scholars from China and Chicago.

“I am very impressed by the range of offerings at Harris and the data-centric approach to policy study,” said Ian Heuer, of Sun Yat-sen University.

The visit also allowed visitors to learn about the broader university community, including the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where they learned about the center’s emphasis on venture creation and technology commercialization and the Becker Friedman Institute.

“There are many centers of this kind in the world, yet Polsky Center is definitely one of the top ones,” said Wen Zhu, an official from Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Representatives also received a tour of campus, including the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library.

“The University of Chicago has developed wonderful relationships with universities in China, but nothing compares to having our partners on campus to hear directly from our campus community and see the work being done to drive social impact around the world,” said Ranjan Daniels, AM’94, Senior Director, Office of the Provost, and the Associate Dean of Student Recruitment and Global Outreach at the Harris Public Policy. “In our global society, it is important that we continue to strengthen our relationships with institutions around the world that benefit our next generation of leaders and thinkers.”

The Chinese officials said they found the visit useful in experiencing the university’s programs first-hand and for discussing how to partner with the university in the future.

Representatives attended from the following partner universities:

  • Peking University
  • Tsinghua University
  • Renmin University of China
  • Fudan University
  • Zhejiang University
  • Beijing Foreign Studies University
  • Sun Yat-Sen University
  • Wuhan University
  • Shandong University
  • Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
  • Nankai University
  • Nanjing University

If you would like to learn more about this or future International Partner University Staff Engagement Week initiatives, please contact Shilin Liu, Student Recruitment and International Partnerships Manager at Harris Public Policy.

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Hello to all my current Harristas, and to prospective students! I am very excited to share my experience of Harris Career Trek, a student’s ticket to career exploration in other cities.

What is the Harris dual-city Career Trek?

The Harris School of Public Policy’s Career Development Office (CDO) offers a unique professional development opportunity during spring break every year. They have expanded the trek to include more employers and accommodate more students for a dual-city trek in Washington, DC, and New York City. This a great opportunity to grow your professional networks and explore career opportunities through a robust schedule of employer visits, alumni receptions, and coffee chats. Here’s an example of this past year’s trek:

The employer visits consist of meeting with multiple companies within a particular policy focus to explore your interests and network with Harris alumni and non-Harris employees. The coffee chats provided opportunities to talk with alumni about their industry insights and develop personal connections. CDO partnered with Harris’s Alumni Relations Office to identify alumni to connect with during the trek. We received a list for both cities and were encouraged to begin communicating with alumni nearly a month before the trip. We also had access to two alumni receptions this year; a speed networking event in DC with Harris alumni and employers, and an open networking event in NYC with employers and the entire UChicago alumni network. 

In the weeks leading up to the Career Trek, we had two mandatory workshops with CDO preparing us for the trip. The first session was a detailed overview of the employers and schedule for the visit and an explanation of deadlines so we knew what was expected of us. The second session prepared us to network: how to dress, how to reach out, what to say, and how best to follow-up after making a new connection. I found them very helpful, especially the cute flyer with tips on what type of handbags to bring!  

When should I join the trek, in the first year or the second year?

The Career Trek is designed to be both an internship pipeline and a platform for full-time employment opportunities. Also, this was an excellent networking opportunity, especially with alumni who can connect me with opportunities in DC, NYC, and beyond. I would say consider this trip as a practical way to learn and connect with amazing organizations you may not have direct access to otherwise. 

I joined the Career Trek as a second year, but if I had a chance to go back, I would have joined during my first year instead. During my first year, I didn’t know much about the different industries, and a trip like this would have been a great way to explore diverse career opportunities. 

The benefit of participating during my second year is that I have a deeper understanding of what kind of employers interest me the most. During the Trek, I was very serious about putting my best foot forward and presenting myself professionally. About to enter the job market myself, I could see that most second-year students planned their trip and coffee chats carefully, all with making the most out of these new connections firmly in mind.

Exposure to a variety of companies like this can help you make the right career choices and set you up for success in landing an internship that is the right fit for you. Whether you are a first year or a second year, do yourself a favor and join a career trek to make the most out of the networks Harris can place at your fingertips.

Is there funding available to help cover travel expenses?

Harris sponsored several lunches and the receptions in DC and NYC this year, but in order to include as many students as possible, participants are expected to fund their personal expenses. There are a few financial resources available to help offset the cost of the trip including the Harris Professional Development Fund and the Graduate Council Travel Fund. 

Don’t be afraid to take the bus or share a room with friends to help cut costs down. Due to a snowstorm the week of the trip, I ended up taking a Mega bus instead of the Amtrak; it was 1/10 the cost of the train and I had fun chatting with friends as we watched the clouds go by. 

What was my favorite employer visit? 

My favorite visit was to Ideas42, a non-profit design and consulting firm that uses insights from the behavioral sciences to address complex social problems. The office is nestled in the mid-town area of NYC and set up as a gallery to famous artists (Daniella Zalcman, among others) and highlights many identity pieces. Our visit was during business hours, but many of the employees still made time to chat and take photos with those of us on the Trek. We met with members of the creative, brand management and talent acquisition teams, all fantastic contacts to make as we prepare to enter the behavioral sciences field.

If you want to be a policy person, you absolutely should attend Harris Public Policy and join CDO’s Career Trek. The dual-city trek, like the recruiting process, will educate and empower you. I believe both experiences have given me new tools to help get interviews at top companies where I hope to make a real impact.

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When considering graduate school programs, it’s important to look at factors like academic rigor, professional development resources, and perhaps most importantly, career outcomes. In true Harris School of Public Policy fashion, the Career Development Office provides data highlighting the previous year’s career outcomes. From the 2018 report, here are 3 key takeaways: 

 

What does this mean? Out of the students looking for a job, 96 percent secured one within three months of graduation. Harris also reports on job satisfaction, one of the few professional schools to do so. There is a story of a teacher who once asked a young student what he wanted to be when he grew up and he simply said “happy.” Well, 75 percent of Harris alumni reported being satisfied with their employment, which makes us very happy. For many people, if you’re not excited about where you work or your company’s mission, it is hard to find fulfillment, personally and professionally.

Harris provides students and alumni resources to help them find employment where they can make a meaningful impact and establish longevity.

In the report, you will also find a breakdown of sectors that the Class of 2017 found employment within. No matter what sector interests you, this report highlights the flexibility and versatility of a public policy degree from Harris. 

Harris is proud of our alumni who prove year after year that the skills students take with them upon graduation are transferable and applicable across sectors, making it easier to pivot from career to career. 

We can’t wait to see where our future classes end up in upcoming Career Outcomes Reports!

Read or download the full 2018 Career Outcomes Report here.

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Myth #1: It’s a race to the top of the grading scale and people are throwing elbows to get there.

When I came to the Harris School of Public Policy, I expected the students to be cutthroat competitors stepping on each other to get that A+. Fortunately, this could not be farther from the truth. In the first quarter, many professors require that you complete problem sets in groups to ensure everyone is on the same page, more or less. I remember sitting in the Harris lounge one Saturday morning choking back tears because I didn’t know how to complete a pset in Stata (something I am very good at now) when one of my classmates offered to help. Moral of the story: you’ll get your psets done and make long-lasting friendships along the way.

Myth #2: We’re all looking to work in the private sector after graduation.

The summer before Harris, I thought I needed to buy myself a few suits, a copy of the book Case in Point, by Marc P. Cosentino, and start preparing for interviews at consulting firms. I assumed Harris students were only interested in this sector. I quickly learned that many policy people have a wide variety of interests, while others are still exploring what sector they’d like to work in, which is totally okay. Harris provides resources and a support system to help narrow down your interests and get you ready to enter the job market, no matter what sector.

Myth #3: Harris students can take a derivative in their sleep on the first day.

If you’re asking what a derivative is, the ME from first quarter would have sat right next to you at Math Camp, because #SAME. The core has a quantitative mysteriousness attached to it where you hear war stories from students who made it to the other side (plot twist: we all make it). Have no fear, Harris provides Jumpstart and Math Camp to ensure that you are introduced to these quantitative concepts and have a smooth transition into your first quarter. However, if you’re looking to at least hear the word ‘derivative’ by Day One, check out khanacademy.com. You’ll be maximizing a function in no time.

Myth #4: UChicago is where fun comes to die.

I resent this statement! Yeah sure, we sit in a lecture hall and drink ungodly amounts of coffee to stay up and finish our problem sets, but we make up for lost time in many ways. Harris, informally deemed one of the most social of the UChicago professional schools, puts on events like Harris After Hours, Party in the Sky, Follies, and the End of the Year Party located at the Chicago History Museum this year! In between these major events, you can catch us across the Midway getting our beer passports stamped at The Pub. Bring your passports and those econ flashcards people, it’s called balance.

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A group of alumni and current international students from the Harris School of Public Policy sat down recently to share some insights and advice about successfully navigating internships in United States-based organizations. While their comments were mostly to help international students, we feel that their advice can benefit everyone looking to land an internship over the summer. Here’s what you need to know.

Know your stuff:

Being comfortable in Stata is an asset. Not everyone in your internship sphere may be able to offer the skills you have gained from Harris, so use that to your advantage.

Prove yourself and your skills. No one will give you a free ticket, you have to make your own way.

Previous accomplishments have less impact than you think. No matter how impressive your resume is right now, the most important thing to your employer is what value and skills you bring to the company during your internship.

Speak up:

Don't be afraid to ask for the projects you want. The worst that could happen is that they will say is no.

Explain how your skills/experiences translate into benefits for the employer. They will not go looking for this information so it is up to you to make sure they know all you have to offer.

Participate in meetings. You were brought in to the company to share your ideas.

Stand out:

Own your cultural differences. Many organizations and teams appreciate what value you will bring to their teams.

Get some face time. Don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting with the senior managers. Whether it is a chat over coffee about career goals, or seeking perspective on a topic you feel passionate about, getting that one-on-one time can build long-term connections for the future. Just remember, ask politely and be respectful of their time if they agree.

Try something new:

Experiment. Step outside your comfort zone, you may just like it! This is a finite moment where you have the safety of trying out something completely new without a long-term commitment.

Be curious. Ask a lot of questions and get out there and meet people.

Build your professional network:

Internships can help you build connections. If you impress the right people, you can turn that connection into a full-time offer for employment.

Invest time in developing a network of people who will share future job opportunities. Having multiple eyes on the market at once will give you a greater advantage.

Move quickly when you hear about an opportunity. Leverage your contacts and people you know at Harris to learn about opportunities that might not be public or highly visible. The job market moves fast, so you will need to as well.

Be mindful and proactive:

Try to understand the company culture. Environments in organizations vary, even from office to office within a larger organization. Some environments can be rigid, others can be more relaxed.

Know your limitations. Be proactive in improving skills and asking questions, but know when you need to ask for help.

Keep your eye on the prize. Don’t focus on who you will be next week or next month. Instead, reflect on who you were five, 10, or even 20 years ago. Celebrate how far you've come before worrying about how far you need to go.

Learn more:

We have additional information about internship opportunities at Harris, including how current students can fund an unpaid internship in the nonprofit and public sectors, on our Internships and Funding web page. You can also email questions to our Career Development Office.

Check out our video: The Harris Internship Experience.

And keep an eye on the blog over the summer for our Summer Internship Series, where students will share personal experiences about their internships and the types of projects they are working on.

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Greetings from Harris! For those of you joining our incoming class in the fall, we know there are a lot of questions about your next steps. If you haven’t read our recent blog post, You’re #InAtHarris! Now What? be sure to take some time to read that carefully; it answers many of your questions about next steps and what you can expect over the summer.

What is a CNET ID?

One of the very first things you need to do once you submit your Admission Reply Form and deposit, securing your place in our incoming class, is to claim your CNET ID. The CNET ID will be your key to accessing a variety of password-protected University systems.

How do I claim my CNET ID?

To claim your CNET ID, you will need your UChicago ID (UCID) number or your social security number. Your UCID was emailed to you shortly after submitting your Admission Reply Form with a subject line of “Harris Public Policy Enrollment Update.” If you are unable to find this email, you may contact Admissions and they will look it up for you.

Once you have your UCID, visit the IT Services website to finish claiming your CNET ID. The website will guide you through the process.

What can I do with my CNET ID?

Here are some of the University systems that require a CNET ID to access:

my.UChicago portal - This is an internal portal for all UChicago students, faculty, staff, and alumni. On this site, you will find useful information regarding University events, financial aid, the bursar's office, and other important news and events happening around campus. It is the centralized place to access nearly all information for University-wide systems, including:

  • Registering for courses
  • Viewing what courses are being offered across the University
  • Updating your contact information (legal name, preferred name, addresses, and phone numbers, etc.)
  • View and pay your tuition bill and see your financial aid information
  • View any holds that you have on your registration and how to resolve them

UChicago Student Employment website - To apply for University-related jobs (both work study and non-work study), this site will be your resource. Please note that most jobs that begin in the fall won’t be posted until mid-to-late summer.

Why is it important to set up my CNET ID?

The Office of Students Affairs at Harris Public Policy will begin to send information in the coming weeks about our pre-orientation and orientation programs, as well as general information and advice to help you prepare for arriving on campus. Your student email address will be the ONLY way they communicate this information to you; therefore, it is very important that you set up your CNET ID and student email address in a timely manner.

As a reminder, the admitted student website and Pre-Enrollment Checklist contain many of the important dates you need to be aware of.

Admissions will continue to communicate with you via the email address listed in your application file should there be any outstanding issues as you complete your transition to a Harris student. If you change your contact information at any point in time, please notify the Office of Admissions immediately. We don’t want you to miss out on any important details in the weeks leading up to your arrival on campus.

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Hello readers! The last quarter has finally started for those of us in our second year here at Harris. I wanted to share my last spring break journey as a student with you!

Over this past spring break, I went to Washington D.C. on the career trek with the Institute of Politics (IOP). It wasn’t quite Miami or Cancun, but it was GREAT! And I LOVED IT!

Why did you join the IOP Career Trek to DC?

I spent last summer interning at the World Bank in D.C. That experience deepened my passion for international development policy and I wanted to explore my career options in that field. I knew I could do that by participating in Career Trek. The trip was also fully funded by IOP, so I applied and got in!

IOP Career Trek participants visit the NPR studios.

What did you do during Career Trek?

For about three days, we visited many organizations including the Senate Office, Human Rights Watch, Urban Institute, and NPR. Even though I am pursuing a career in international development, it was a great opportunity to see what other options are available for my career in the long term.

It was really helpful that each site visit ended with a chance to ask questions and get a feel for the kind of work environment each organization offers. This allowed me firsthand insight into whether or not that organization was the type of place I would want to work for in the future.

We also attended an event at Georgetown University featuring Eric Holder, former Attorney General of the United States where gerrymandering was discussed.

​​​What were your favorite things about Career Trek?

Most of the students who came on the Trek are interested in getting involved in U.S. or international politics. One of the UChicago alumni we met with currently works in President Obama’s personal office. It was really interesting to hear about her career journey, beginning as an intern at the White House, to her current role as a researcher in his personal office. Her story resonated, particularly because of her success at a young age through hard work and building connections.

Another thing I really liked about the Trek, and was grateful to the IOP organizers for including in the program, was the flexibility. Even though the official schedule was hectic, IOP organizers allowed some discretionary time to visit other organizations that were of interest to me.

During my time in D.C., I was able to meet with my former supervisors at the World Bank, professors from George Washington University where I did my study abroad during undergrad, and several colleagues whom I worked with in D.C.

Apart from the Career Trek, I also loved being in Washington D.C. again. There are so many interesting opportunities happening all the time around the field of policy, including policy debates, speaker events, and international forums just to name a few.

Sally Park, Class of 2018, holds the report she helped compile at the Global Food Security Symposium 2018.

I ended my trip to D.C. by meeting up with some colleagues from my current internship at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs for the 2018 Global Food Security Symposium.

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During this past spring break, I participated in a nine-day trip to China sponsored by the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). I was one of 20 graduate students chosen to participate in this special immersion program focusing on themes of economic reform and global security.

Kwak was chosen along with 19 other graduate students for a sponsored nine-day trip to China courtesy of CUSEF.

My travel cohort consisted of graduate students not only from Harris, but also the Law School and Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, not only to connect with a diverse group of graduate students from other divisions, but also to fully contextualize China’s rapid rise as a global economic power and to consider its challenges for future growth. It was also an interesting time to be in China because of the National People’s Congress and President Xi Jinping was re-elected at the tail end of the trip.

My cohort traveled to three different cities in China — Beijing, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. Each city had a unique itinerary planned, which was primarily focused on back-to-back meetings with government ministries, established businesses, and technology start-ups. Two students were chosen to lead the discussions during each meeting, which ensured active participation from the entire group. Some of the government agencies we visited in Beijing were the Ministry of Finance and Environmental Protection Ministry, where we received a comprehensive overview of each government agency’s history and role in stewarding China’s plan for growth. We also spent some time at the People’s Bank of China to learn more about Chinese fiscal policy. In Shenzhen, we visited some key technology companies such as SenseTime and Huawei. Finally, in Shanghai, we met with some diverse organizations such as the Shanghai Religious and Ethnic Affairs Committee, Ctrip, Shanghai Institute for International Studies, and Baosight.

Many of our meetings and discussions were based on learning more about the organizations and their impact on business or policy goals, so it was eye-opening to attend a wide range of meetings throughout different regions in China.

Since the goal of our trip was to learn more about economic reform and security in China, there was little time left to explore each city during the day. However, I was still able to enjoy how each city had a distinct character unto its own. Beijing, being the capital city, is very politically focused; Shenzhen is a young city in southern China that is rapidly growing its technology and innovation sector, and taking advantage of its designation as a special economic zone; Shanghai is a diverse international city that has historically served as a major financial hub of China and still serves that role today.

Kwak along with her travel companions visit the Great Wall in China.

Overall, the trip made a lasting impression on me. The program was challenging and informative; many of the topics discussed were complex yet organic.

I feel that some of the friendships and connections I was able to make on the trip will last beyond my graduate studies at Harris and I’m eager to continue exploring my interest in China for years to come.

 

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In honor of National Service Recognition Day on April 3, the Harris community came together to honor students, faculty, and staff who are current or former military service members, and those who volunteered from programs in AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Teach for America.

One of those participants was Ashley Aue, whose stepping stone to public service came while working on conservation efforts in Colorado’s state and national parks.

Ashley Aue, Class of 2019.

Aue, then an undergraduate, served in AmeriCorps State and National in the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Her work taught her flexibility and problem solving, particularly when the unexpected happened.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, Aue’s Colorado team was deployed to Mississippi to assist with relief efforts.

Aue, Class of 2019 in the MPP program, shared her service story with Harris students, faculty, and staff at the dinner event at the University of Chicago.

As Aue glanced around the room, she was surprised to see the number of Harris colleagues who had also served. Though she had no idea, she said she also feels at home.

Most recently, Aue lived in Guatemala where she founded Asociación Abriendo Caminos (Pathways), an organization that works with individuals with intellectual disabilities to teach job and life skills.

She chose Harris because she wanted to learn more about how to make services more efficient and sustainable. She says her service background is an asset in the classroom.

“What I can bring to other peers is to take concepts and offer practical examples of where they could be used in the workplace,” she says, emphasizing the transferable nature of the Harris toolkit to real-world work experiences.

Other students shared how their service opportunity instilled a passion for public service and a desire to return to graduate school to learn new skills and broaden their networks.

Ausannette Garcia-Goyette served in the Peace Corps and helped to build teaching capacity in the municipality of Chongqing, China. She taught under-resourced rural teachers who would go on to teach low-income children.

Once she finished her service she wanted to maintain her connection to China and began working for an NGO where she focused on reaching the youngest children first in order to improve societal outcomes.

Ausannette Garcia-Goyette, Class of 2019, poses with students during her time with the Peace Corps in Chongqing, China.

“Starting early creates the greatest opportunities for making a difference,” she says.

Among the many lessons the Peace Corps instilled in her, Garcia-Goyette says she learned cross-cultural communication which allowed her to communicate and understand people from backgrounds that were different than her own.

“A big part of being in Peace Corps is you’re thrown in to a situation with not a lot of resources,” she says. “So the idea of being a self-starter, being resourceful, and starting from scratch are valuable skills that serve you well in any setting.”

 

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Whichever degree program you choose to pursue, you’ll have the support and tools to succeed – and it’s not too early to start thinking about what your student experience will be like and what you can start doing over the summer to be ready on day one of class.

I’m sure you are eager to know what your course schedule and academic experience will look like. Your schedule will be finalized in early September, but you can plan on taking required courses in the Core during your first two quarters at Harris.

The most successful Harris students treat their coursework like a full-time job. Plan on being available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for core courses, and other co-curricular obligations such as TA sessions, class activities, as well as time for a trip or two to the Pub with classmates or attending some of the engaging speaker events hosted throughout the year.

Be sure to also check out the academic calendar to find out when each academic quarter begins and ends, and other key dates throughout the academic year that will help you plan your year. And more importantly, know when to make your spring break plans!

The most important thing you can do over the summer is to begin preparing for the math exams on the first day of Welcome Week. The exams ensure students have the quantitative skills necessary for the statistics and microeconomics courses in the Core.

All incoming graduate-level students (with the exception of MACRM students) need to take and self-report scores for the algebra and calculus self-assessments over the summer. The self-assessments will give you a sense of how much preparation you need for the math exams, identify topics you should focus on, and help determine if attending Math Camp is right for you.

If you have not used mathematical skills recently, you may find it beneficial to enroll in a college-level algebra or calculus course at a local college or through online course platforms, such as Khan Academy.  You know yourself best and will be able to determine how much additional preparation you need for the math exams.

In addition to brushing up on your math skills, I also strongly suggest all incoming students familiarize themselves with programming and coding. While at Harris, you will use Stata, a statistical software package, and R, a programming language very often. Many governmental organizations, consulting firms, NGOs, and start-ups use these programs for policy analysis. Understanding how to use them will be critical in your career and be a helpful addition to your resume.

You’ll be introduced to Stata and R during orientation and in your courses, but in the meantime, you should start to explore these tools. That way, you will already know the basics of how to navigate them once you begin classes in the fall.  

By attending Harris, you’ll be given the tools to transform policy for good. But first, there are a few important steps you’ll want to take. Stay ahead of the curve and bookmark the pre-enrollment checklist – it has every deadline and important date you need to know.  Also, check out the admitted student portal which has tons of usual information. Be sure to check it out frequently as it will be updated over the summer as we get closer to the start of orientation!

Finally, be sure to claim your UChicago email and network ID as soon as possible! The Day One Orientation team will start reaching out to your new email with valuable information starting early May.

From the moment you arrive at Harris, you’ll start acquiring real-world policy experience and building valuable, long-term relationships with future government, nonprofit, business, and civic leaders. You will not only learn how to drive social change— you’ll take the wheel on day one.

I look forward to seeing you this fall!

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Greetings from Harris! 

We are so pleased to welcome you to our community this fall. We know the process of applying to graduate school can be overwhelming, so we wanted to provide you a month-by-month breakdown of what you can expect over the next few months. 

Or, download a simplified New International Student Checklist.

March

During the month of March spend some time learning as much as you can about Harris. Take advantage of the resources below:

April

During the month of April, continue familiarizing yourself with all the University of Chicago and Harris has to offer, but also learn about the visa interview process and the documents you will need to submit in the month of May: 

May

Finish and submit important documentation for the University of Chicago:
  • Complete your I-20/DS-2019 Request Form and submit the documents required for an I-20 (F Visa) or DS-2019 (J Visa)
  • Allow 1-2 weeks for OIA to review your documents – the OIA reviews documents in the order they are received. No expedite requests will be granted
  • The OIA will notify you by e-mail if your documents are incomplete
  • OIA will contact you once your documents are ready to be sent
  • Be on the lookout for events and webinars that will be helpful to you

June

Prepare for your visa interview and make sure you are aware of deadlines and communications being sent from [email protected]

July

We hope your visa interview goes well. Stay connected with Harris and your future classmates: 
  • Wow! Time is going by quickly – I thought this blog post would never end! 
  • Have you connected with other students arriving using Facebook or other social media? We’re getting so excited to meet everyone. 
  • Let us know how your visa interview goes 
  • Plan all the fun things you will do in Chicago once you arrive

August

Students begin arriving on campus and participating in pre-orientation programs: 

September

You are finally here and classes begin:
  • Welcome Week – September 24- September 28 
  • First Week of Classes – October 1 

IMPORTANT MESSAGES:

  • Do not book your travel until you have your immigration documents confirming your Program Start Date. Program Start Dates cannot be adjusted based on travel needs. 
  • Read all of the information on the OIA website. We understand it is very detailed and probably a little overwhelming, but it is your best resource for important information.
  • When it comes to immigration policies - always, always, always follow the advice of our talented OIA staff. 
  • Remember, your case is unique. If “a friend” gives you advice or experiences a different process than you, we can only discuss your case.
  • Most importantly, it is our hope that you have a smooth arrival into the United States. Following all of the detailed instructions above will help with that, but remember we are always here to help. Email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.
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The AmeriCorps Pledge: “I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”

I took the AmeriCorps pledge in the summer of 2009, as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. Nearly a decade after my year of Service, I can honestly say I’ve lived the motto, and my career has been greatly influenced by my year of Service. I’ve had the pleasure of completing an AmeriCorps Service year, directing an AmeriCorps program, and currently serve as a Commissioner on the Serve Illinois Commission, which oversees all aspects of program administration and training for the AmeriCorps program in Illinois.

Harris values national service and understands that you're dedicated to continue making an impact.

Successful careers are built on solid personal and interpersonal skills. Like many of my fellow AmeriCorps alumni, the service year provided me with the opportunities to gain and strengthen the marketable skills you don’t find on a resume. AmeriCorps members are dedicated to making a social impact. Through service, young people who are mission-oriented and work well on diverse teams, learn to persevere through challenges and how to take initiative, making them adaptable and resourceful.

This year, the Harris Public Policy is home to 30 alumni of National Service. These students have served in various AmeriCorps programs: VISTA, State, and National, and Teach For America. They all bring the foundation of their service year(s) to their studies. At Harris, our faculty help students turn their passion for doing good into proven social impact. They develop the skills needed to ask the hard questions, follow the evidence to the answers, and make a real and lasting impact. AmeriCorps alumni are able to combine a rigorous education at a world-class institution with their hands-on experience gained through national service. Harris graduates are able to take their applied academic skills and combine them with the critical-thinking skills gained through national service for practical use in the workplace.

Today, there are more than 500 Employers of National Service, an initiative launched by President Obama in 2014. Employers include companies like Accenture, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Morningstar, Save the Children, The Aspen Institute, and many more across all sectors. In Harris Public Policy’s 2016 Career Outcomes report, 97 percent of reporting Harris students secured employment after six months. These students were employed at many of the organizations signed up for the Employers of National Service initiative. As Director of Career Development at Harris, I’m proud to be able to guide my fellow AmeriCorps alums to a career path that values their service experience, rigorous education, and passion. 

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Admitted Student Day has come and gone in the blink of an eye and I’m sure it was just as overwhelming and exciting for you as it was for me. In between chatting with all the newly admitted students, I found time to reflect on what it was like attending ASD again as a first-year student and a member of Team Harris.

Team Harris and many other current students shared their perspective and advice at Admitted Student Day.

As an admitted student last year, I remember feeling anxious, but excited to get a taste of what it meant to be a Harris student. Aside from the warm opening remarks that set the tone for the day, I recall Ethan Bueno de Mesquita’s mini-lecture that gave insight into his Analytical Politics course. He highlighted from the course material what it meant to move beyond wanting to do good for the greatest amount of people and actually doing good with effective policy implementation. Having now taken this class, I recognize how Admitted Student Day, and his presentation, was an accurate representation of what my first quarter of the core would be like. I also had a better understanding of his lecture better this time around! Ethan’s class remains one of my favorites to date.

My favorite part of Admitted Student Day, both this year and last, was the happy hour with current students. It is the perfect ending to what may feel like an overwhelming day. I greatly enjoyed meeting you individually and offering a down-to-earth perspective. Hopefully, it relieved some of your stress, especially regarding Harris’ academic rigor.

I realize that there is a mystique surrounding the core that creates anxiety. I remember bombarding current students with questions like, Am I going to make it through the core? Am I going to crash and burn? What’s a derivative?! Hearing the same questions makes me laugh because I understand how you’re feeling because I was in this position the same time last year.

Students were able to network, meet faculty and current students, and tour campus during Admitted Student Day this year.

Although easier said than done, my best advice is to not let the fear of the core prevent you from enjoying your Harris experience. I spent too much time during my first year looking for reassurance that I would make it through. Sometimes I lost sight of the big picture and had to remind myself of why I sought out an MPP degree in the first place.  

I survived the core and lived to tell the tale - and so will you. 

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Greetings from Harris! 

Our entire Admissions Team is buzzing about the excitement of meeting so many Admitted Students on Friday. We hope you had a chance to visit Harris on Friday, and even stop by the much talked about Seminary Co-op Bookstore. :)

As promised in the past, and discussed on Friday, our Application for Review of Scholarship Award is now open. You may access the form here. Some helpful tips when completing this form:

  • Please provide new information when completing this form - information that was not included in your original Harris application
  • New information can include a variety of items such as updated transcripts, new test scores, or information on other programs you are considering 
  • Please allow our team two weeks to respond to requests - if you need to hear back sooner there is an area on the form where you can indicate the date when you need a final decision from Harris 
  • We encourage you to only submit this request once, and recommend you have all relevant information before submitting the form

Thank you! Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions. 

-Jenny

 

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The acceptance email from Harris changed everything. At the time I was working on developing a business model for a Chilean company. I was under a lot of pressure. And I wasn’t sure I was doing what I really wanted to do. The simple word “congratulations” on a maroon colored piece of paper magically healed me.   

Harris is “THE school’” to me. My undergraduate degree was in Economics, so I was looking for a public policy program with an element of Econ. I knew I would focus a lot of my graduate work on economic policy, but a degree specific to economic policy would limit my career options. However, with an MPP degree, I have the flexibility to apply for jobs in other policy areas, such as international relations. The MPP program is a great fit for me because it opens possibilities for more career options.

One of my favorite things about the Harris MPP is that we are allowed to choose up to six courses outside of Harris. When I began applying to graduate schools, I thought I might later apply for a doctoral program, so finding a program that allows students to choose electives that open possibilities for pursuing different paths was important to me. The Master of Public Policy (MPP) at Harris allows you to do just that. I could utilize these opportunities to take courses from the Economics department or School of Social Service Administration, for example.

I always wanted to gain more action-based academic experience. I was looking for “hands-on” learning opportunities to analyze, develop, advocate for, and help drive the execution of effective policy solutions in a real-world context. I wanted to engage with real issues and help actual client organizations.

That’s why I was so excited about Harris Policy Labs. In Policy Labs, second-year Harris students work in teams to tackle issues faced by clients operating in a variety of policy areas across the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. We participated in projects related to improving school choice, analyzing outpatient clinic care, and creating an innovative tool to analyze labor standards. We also created an analytic framework for the University of Chicago Medicine's new trauma center.

I was also on team Chapin Hall/CHA to form the basis of a new initiative by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). The goal was to engage and support rising ninth graders and their families in choosing the best fit and high-quality high schools. We received advice from faculty throughout the entire process, from how to greet clients, to how to deliver final presentations and white papers.

The course was intense but very fulfilling. And it helps that the faculty at UChicago are very friendly and responsive to emails.

When I first came to Harris, I was interested in many different concentrations and professional roles. I had no idea which one would be the best fit for me. Between the exciting summer internships, intense but rewarding RA positions, and projects with my fellow Harristas, I was able to discover what I am good at and most enjoy doing.

I will continue to explore the world with my passion for policy, but now with a much clearer direction.

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As we look forward to welcoming prospective students to campus throughout the Spring, our Admissions team wanted to share their favorite spots around the University and our Hyde Park neighborhood. Check out some of our recommendations the next time you are in town! 

Ranjan Daniels, Associate Dean of Student Recruitment and Global Outreach

Ranjan recommends that visiting students eat at the Medici on 57th—his favorite spot in Hyde Park—because of the diverse mix of people and the stellar milkshakes.

Jenny Erickson, Director of Recruitment

“I always refer students to my favorite bookstores on campus: 57th Street Books, The Seminary Co-op Bookstore, and the UChicago Bookstore. Stopping at all three gives you a nice little walk of campus. If I’m going to stop for lunch, my new favorite place is Pret a Manger on University Ave. They have a nice variety of healthy snacks to eat and there are lots of places to stop on the way if you want to check out some of the buildings on campus.”

Jamia Jowers, Associate Director of Recruitment

“I love Hyde Park. There is something for everyone. After work, I stop by Hyde Park Records because I enjoy listening to good music on vinyl. They also come in handy if you are DJ’ing! On the weekends, I take the family to the Museum of Science and Industry and afterward we go to 57th street beach. For date night my husband and I like to take in views at Promontory Point or Osaka Gardens and then have dinner and enjoy live entertainment on the balcony of the Promontory. Whether it’s ‘hearth to table’, or if you’re looking for something more robust like Porkchop, Harper Court & Hyde Park has you covered.”

Devon Reber, Associate Director of Recruitment, Evening Program

I enjoy picking up lunch from one of the food trucks on Ellis Ave. and taking a walk around Rockefeller Chapel.

Shilin Liu, Student Recruitment and International Partnerships Manager

“I like to start my day with a 20-minute still meditation or group yoga at Rockefeller Chapel, swing by the Plein Air cafe to have a delicious and healthy sandwich, and then spend the afternoon reading at the Seminary Co-op bookstore next to it. I like to end my day back at Rockefeller with the Tea and Pipes free concert.”

Alyssa Szynal, Assistant Director of Recruitment

"The Sanctuary Café is one of my favorite places on campus – it’s perfect when I need a quiet place to work and a strong cup of coffee or tea. I also enjoy exploring the Oriental Institute museum; the mummies alone make it worth visiting. And of course, the Pub is a classic campus hangout, whether you go to compete at trivia night or just to chill out after a long day on campus."

Emma Richardson, Recruitment Specialist

“My ideal day is strolling through the Quad up to 57th street, where I can grab a slice of my favorite pepperoni pizza from Medici’s on 57th and stop by the famous Powell’s Bookstore to grab a new book to read during my commute to work.”

Andy Wolanski, Recruitment Specialist

"As a brand-new staff member at Harris, I’ve been busy exploring and getting to know the campus. I think my favorite thing to do so far is to walk through the main quad (I’m a sucker for pretty buildings) and then grab a delicious lunch from one of the many food trucks parked on Ellis Ave! I’m super excited to venture out more into Hyde Park during the spring and summer months and experience the neighborhood."

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My name is Andy Wolanski and I recently joined the Harris School of Public Policy as a Student Recruitment Specialist. I’m excited to be here and I’m looking forward to contributing to the recruitment team’s awesome efforts in attracting a wonderfully diverse and talented pool of students! Before I begin reading and evaluating applications, I wanted to briefly introduce myself.

I’m so lucky to have been offered this position at Harris because it combines two of my core professional interests: higher education and public policy. Before coming to the University of Chicago, I worked at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University as a Program Coordinator for the Learning Sciences graduate programs. It’s there that I developed a strong appreciation for the many eccentricities of higher education administration. Specifically, I was able to get a good sense of how the admissions and recruitment process works. I quickly realized how rewarding it is to sit down with prospective students and learn about their backgrounds, their interests, and their plans to help change society for the better. The energy exerted by prospective students can be contagious! I recently caught the grad school bug myself and started the part-time Master of Liberal Arts program at Johns Hopkins University.

During my deployment to Afghanistan in 2011

Prior to my position at Northwestern, I received my B.A in Political Science from DePaul University using the G.I. Bill that I earned from five years of service in the United States Air Force. In the military, I served as a Satellite Communications Technician as well as an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Technician during a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. My years in the military, as well as my experiences at DePaul, sparked my interest in political science and public policy; an interest that has only grown over the years.

In my free time (which has become increasingly rare!), I love traveling with my partner of seven years, running, discussing politics with friends, and soaking up the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.

To close, even after a short period of time on the job, I know I made the right choice in coming to the University of Chicago and the Harris School of Public Policy. I’ve admired both from afar for many years. But now I’m here! Great things are happening on a daily basis at Harris and I’m a lucky guy to be able to experience them firsthand.