Davidson plans to combine her MPP and Persuasive Writing Credential skills with her coding and public finance knowledge to make a direct community impact through program implementation and evaluation.
Headshot of Caroline Davidson
Caroline Davidson

“I always intended to work in public policy analysis,” said Caroline Davidson, MPP Class of 2024, whose journey at Harris began when she took the Persuasive Writing Credential (PWC) in 2022. 

Davidson said she’d anticipated her public policy career would take the shape of a research assistant role after completing her undergraduate degree in economics and Latin American studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. “But after studying abroad in Brazil, I decided to move there after graduation to teach English and economics.”

While in Brazil, Davidson began working as a Research Assistant—and later Associate—at InDev Capital, an investment banking advisory firm. “Investment banking was a field I hadn’t really considered, but I learned a great deal about organizational management and the pressures attendant to working in a small-company environment, which helped prepare me for future work in the public policy sphere.”

Davidson also witnessed many of Brazil’s policy challenges while at InDev Capital. “Seeing those challenges motivated me to explore graduate programs so I could gain the skills to move into a public policy role. I want to perform impactful policy analysis, so I sought a quantitative program and was deciding between pursuing a master’s in public policy or economics. The Master of Public Policy (MPP) at Harris was the best of both worlds: I was able to take advanced tracks for both economics and statistics while also developing new skills in policy.”

In addition to seeking policy analysis skills, Davidson realized she wanted to develop policy writing skills. “I felt comfortable writing for academic and investing audiences, but I didn’t have any experience in policy writing: I didn’t know how it looked or how it differed from other types of writing. And since I knew the Core was going to be my main focus at Harris in the fall, I took the Persuasive Writing Credential the summer before.”

Her PWC experience, Davidson said, allowed her to create a solid policy writing portfolio. “In my PWC portfolio, I wrote about a topic that was new to me: the use of risk assessment instruments during pretrial release (bail) decisions. I wrote a community impact story and a policy brief, which I can now use as evidence of my writing skills.” However, it wasn’t only the writing component of the PWC that Davidson found invaluable. “I had incredible interactions with the teaching assistant, learning from her and talking with her about both policy writing and Harris in general.”

After completing her MPP, Davidson aims to work in program implementation and evaluation for an organization doing research in partnership with governmental entities. “I want to get government programs the funding they need to make a positive impact. I look forward to combining my coding and public finance skills with the skills I gain in the MPP to make a difference in the community. And while I want to work in the US for now—as I have not yet done that—I appreciate that I can potentially apply my skills on the international stage.”

Davidson’s advice to those considering applying to Harris is pretty straight forward: “Take advantage of opportunities and never stop pursuing ways to learn. As a student in the PWC—and a TA for the Data and Programming Summer Scholar (DPSS) program—I have seen how individuals from all points in their careers have chosen to continue learning and developing new skills, which I firmly believe is essential to making an effective impact.”