Inspired by her local community, Kimpson plans to leverage her policy degree to advance health equity.
Headshot of Andrea Kimpson
Andrea Kimpson

Andrea Kimpson, MPP Class of 2025, grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. "As the state capital, Columbia is full of politics and activism. Both my parents worked on the state house grounds, so I was always down there seeing everything happen around me.

"My parents, my grandparents, and every relative under the sun have always got something to say or something to do in our community. They helped me see how advocacy work—and intentional noise making—really makes a difference. During the pandemic, I saw how many systems seemed to be failing people all at once, which is why I want to understand how to build systems that support people and respond to their needs—while also respecting their autonomy."

Kimpson is specifically interested in health equity. "I've seen the effects of poor health, good health, a lack of access to health care, and everything in between. I believe access to health care is one of the biggest issues facing our society, especially in terms of recognizing where long-standing disparities come from and how we structure health systems."

Kimpson earned a BA in international studies and a BS in economics from the College of Charleston. "I've always wanted to learn more about the world, so international studies felt like a perfect fit for me. Economics was a harder choice, because I'm not a math person. However, I ended up enjoying economics so much that I began tutoring it. My interest in economics also  drew me to UChicago, as it's world-renowned as a pioneer in behavioral economics."

Kimpson's interest in health equity was also honed through two internships while an undergrad. "I interned with the mayor's office in Columbia, working on pandemic policies, and then with the Bipartisan Policy Center, where I focused on behavioral health, formulating a task force for youth behavioral health and researching social media policy."

The activism Kimpson saw growing up, combined with her academic and internship experiences, she said, led her to public policy.  "I've seen how legislation impacts people's lives on a day-to-day basis, and I like that opportunity to make a tangible, real world impact."

As for why she chose the Master of Public Policy at Harris, Kimpson said, "When I came to Diversity Visit Day, the students were so excited and happy. I also loved every member of the staff I interacted with. And I thought: if they're happy to be here, I also want to be here."

Kimpson was also impressed by the health policy research coming out of Harris. "At Admitted Student Day, I attended sessions with Dr. David Meltzer and Dr. Harold Pollack that covered social media, children's behavioral health, and economics—everything I am interested in. I was like, I cannot wait to learn from you."

Kimpson also appreciated Harris' emphasis on equipping students with skills that translate theory into action. "Courses like Policy Labs, and the way students get involved in the Chicago community, set Harris apart as a place that cultivates people to do good work." To that end, Kimpson intends to get involved with the student organization Harris Community Action. "That symbiosis between our institution and the surrounding community is really important to me. I want to contribute to the community that so graciously hosts all of these students."

Kimpson continues to draw inspiration from her community. "My family, my neighborhood, my churches, and other community organizations inspire and encourage me. Seeing them be excited and hopeful for me keeps me moving forward because I want to bring them more things to be excited about."