Humphrey School News

Humphrey School's Junior Summer Institute Puts Syracuse Student on Path to Graduate School

November 3, 2017—A summer spent in Minnesota helped a college student from Syracuse University confirm her plans for a future in public service. 

Chizobam Nwagwu, a senior at Syracuse, spent an intensive seven weeks in the inaugural Junior Summer Institute program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs earlier this year. The JSI program, which is geared toward rising college seniors from underrepresented communities, prepares the participants to thrive in master’s degree programs and launch careers in public service.

“This experience reaffirmed my intention to pursue a graduate degree in public affairs,” Nwagwu says. “Going to graduate school no longer seemed like this far off thing that I hoped to do, but something I was more determined to do than ever.”

Nwagwu is majoring in policy studies and neuroscience—two areas of study that she has melded during her time at Syracuse.

“In high school, I was very interested in psychology, but also chemistry. Neuroscience was an interesting combination of the two,” Nwagwu says. “At the same time, I was fascinated by the conversations surrounding mental health and public policy. 

Nwagwu became interested in opportunities that would help her explore her interest in graduate school. She learned about the JSI program through one of her policy studies courses and an advisor at Syracuse.

“As a summer fellow, I was able to get exposure to what a graduate-level public policy program entailed. For seven weeks, we took three graduate-level public policy courses. We also visited several nonprofit organizations and local businesses to learn about the different careers Humphrey alums pursued," Nwagwu says. "More importantly, I learned how I could combine my passion for public policy and science in graduate school."

Nwagwu wants other students who are thinking about graduate school for public policy or international affairs to seriously consider the JSI program as an option to learn more about graduate work and the possibilities for a career in public service.  

The JSI program is part of the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program, which is committed to promoting the inclusion of underrepresented groups in master’s degree programs and careers in public service. Five universities across the country host JSI fellows each summer: the University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley. 

Benefits of the summer institute include all costs of the program, including housing, travel, tuition, supplies and meal vouchers, as well as a small stipend and a one-time graduate scholarship to any of the PPIA partner institutions.

(Reprinted with permission from Kathleen Haley, Syracuse University News)

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