Undergraduate Student Profiles

Audra Murphey

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I am a fourth-year Public Policy major at Georgia Tech. When I decided to attend Georgia Tech, I was unsure of which major to choose, but Public Policy stuck out to me because it is rooted in two of my largest interests: policy and law. Both my parents are lawyers, and I have always had an admiration for the U.S. Department of Justice and legal proceedings in general. This underlying interest has inspired me to participate in many different involvements on Tech’s campus such as the Mock Trial team, the Ivan Allen Student Advisory Board, the Student Government Association, and two on-campus research assistantships. Off campus, I have had the opportunity to intern for Congressman John Lewis in Washington, D.C. (thanks to the Federal Jackets Fellowship), for State Senator Elena Parent at the Georgia State Capitol, and for Atlanta Legal Aid (a pro bono law firm which serves some of the city's most vulnerable populations). The combination of these experiences and my in-class education have guided my decision to attend law school after graduation. I am eager to become a pro bono attorney to understand the crisis of civil representation which our country is facing and to someday be a part of creating the policies to address the crisis. Because of the students and professors whom I have met over the past four years and the opportunities this amazing network has provided to me, I can whole-heartedly say that when I chose Public Policy, I chose right.

Shekinah Hall

Shekinah Hall pictured next to The Ramblin' Wreck.

Throughout my time here I Georgia Tech, I have been afforded numerous opportunities in which I have been able to apply the knowledge and skills I have accumulated as a Public Policy student. Some of those opportunities include interning at the Troup County Courthouse, interning at the Federal Defender Program in the Capital Habeas Unit, interning for Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky in Washington, D.C. through the Federal Jackets Fellowship program, and becoming a Stamps President’s Scholar. Aside from these experiences a few extracurricular activities I have been involved with on campus include: Grand Challenges, Ivan Allen College Student Ambassadors, the Technique, and Mock Trial. Each and every one of these experiences have truly been amazing. The most valuable aspect of being afforded so many wonderful opportunities has been encountering people, situations, and ideas that challenge what I think I know about everything. I have consistently been pushed to think critically about issues – both that I am passionate about and that I have yet to dive into – and never become complacent in my pursuit of knowledge. The courses I have taken as a Public Policy student have strengthened the framework through which I process the world around me and through research, heated class debates, countless memos, and presentations, I have grown into a stronger student, leader, and person. I am forever grateful to Georgia Tech and to the School of Public Policy for their impact on my life, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Yasamin Khorashahi

Yasamin Khorashahi headshot

Coming to Georgia Tech to study Public Policy in Fall 2018 was the best decision I could have made for myself and my college career. Not only am I getting one of the best policy education around, I am building a foundation in the STEM field. I’m grateful for the opportunity to become an expert in so many disciplines during my time here. I chose Public Policy because I know that my future as a city planner depends on having a strong foundation in policymaking and government. In addition to needing the skills to build my career, I’ve always known that I wanted to be involved in the government.

Majoring in Public Policy has allowed me to build relationships and connections with people I would never have met otherwise. In my time here, I’ve already managed to create strong ties with my professors, local politicians, and policy experts. I couldn’t have been able to intern with the Georgia State Senate and the City of Atlanta without the resources that the School of Public Policy has provided me with. Along with interning, I am an Undergraduate Research Assistant with Dr. Mary Frank Fox in the School of Public Policy researching women in STEM. Through my classes, internships, and research, I am always working to be more active inside and outside Georgia Tech. I am so thankful for all the amazing experiences the School of Public Policy has already given me, and I am looking forward to many more in the years to come!

Ahiliya Nat

Ahiliya Nat

I’m a current fourth year double majoring in Public Policy and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Being a double major, I think that I have a unique perspective on Georgia Tech and the Public Policy major that I don’t think many others have. Being part of two different schools on campus, I can see the benefits that the education in each realm provides. Our public policy classes teach us to be analytical and problem-solving as we work through real world problems and situations in every class. I see this transcend into my business classes. When we are assigned cases in class, I find it easier to go through them than many of my peers due to the fact that this is what all our public policy classes are teaching us. They teach us how to see a problem and the steps that it takes to go through the problem to get to the solution.

I love the Public Policy major because we are such a small close-knit community that we all help and support one another. I know that if I have questions about classes or professors, I can reach out to ANY older public policy student and they would help me with my course selection based on their experience. Also, having classes with the same people semester after semester breeds familiarity, so we study for our exams together and help one another out with internship and job opportunities. This is really a community of students who are like-minded and passionate about similar topics. This is the group I hoped to be a part of when coming into Georgia Tech.

Rehan Khaki

Rehan Khaki Headshot

The college application/admission/selection process was, as it was for many of us, a gruelling and frustrating part of my senior year. I knew that I wanted to study something concerning government process; I just wasn’t sure which school would be the best fit. Then, I attended Shadow Day at the Ivan Allen College last spring.

I got to talk to actual public policy students and attend classes with professors like Dr. Richard Barke. Though I immediately fell in love with the extensive selection of policy courses available and the vast array of career opportunities presented, what truly sold me was the integration of Georgia Tech’s technical curriculum with the SPP’s liberal arts curriculum. Students had the opportunity to study their passion in public policy, but also add other valuable assets to their intellectual toolkit such as calculus or computer science- valuable skills in the 21st century workplace. Beyond the Georgia Tech core, there is also the Law, Science, and Technology minor, which I recently declared. I seek to go to law school and eventually practice intellectual property law, and this minor allows me the opportunity to take courses distinctly specific to my area of interest.

Outside of the classroom, I’ve taken advantage of the great policy-related career hub that is Atlanta, GA. I took on an internship with the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign in fall semester, and worked as a Government Relations intern with Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning in the Spring semester. In the summer, I was fortunate enough to study abroad all over Europe with the GT Oxford Program- an experience I will never forget. When I’m not studying or working, you may find me singing with Sympathetic Vibrations, Georgia Tech’s premier male acapella group or exploring this amazing city with my friends.

Charlotte Densmore

Charlotte Densmore headshot

I chose to attend Georgia Tech after Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts’ Shadow Day the spring of my senior year. I was convinced not only by the welcoming upperclassmen students, professors, and advisors but also by the newly accepted students beside me, who felt the same fears, shared the same interests, and reached for the same goals as I did. Since that fateful day in March of 2017, the upperclassmen, professors, and advisors have become my mentors, and the newly accepted students have become my sorority sisters, closest friends, and coworkers. I feel truly grateful that Ivan Allen-- and Public Policy-- has brought me some of my dearest friends and some of the best experiences of my college career.  

Last spring, I interned at the Georgia Capitol through the Georgia Legislative Internship Program, working for the Senate. I utilized the skills I’ve learned in a plethora of Public Policy courses-- Dr. Barke’s Political Processes, Professor Polak’s State and Local Government, and Dr. Youtie’s Research Methods (to name just a few). I know that the information I have learned in these courses set me apart from the other interns, and I proudly represented Buzz on my nametag.

My favorite course at Tech so far has been Professor Leggon’s Social Policy class in which we discussed and debated relevant political issues. I was lucky enough to take this class during the 2018 midterms which kept the topics we discussed both exciting and especially pertinent. My favorite aspect of the class is the friendships I left the course with-- I sat next to and debated with a fellow student whose political views are the polar opposite of mine, but through this we built a lasting best-friendship. Inspired by Professor Leggon’s class and many others, after graduation, I am planning to attend law school and/or earn a Master’s degree in Comparative Social Policy.

My advice to an incoming Public Policy major would be: don’t freak out because Tech is not a liberal arts school! I was very unsure about Georgia Tech, and I was especially unsure about studying liberal arts at a widely regarded STEM institution. Sure it would be great to discuss the ups and downs of physics with the hundreds of other students enrolled in Classical Physics II, but Public Policy offers class sizes that allow me to get to know the professor and my fellow students personally. This means that both my professors and my advisor know my name, my story, and what I hope to achieve. I am more than just a number to the School of Public Policy, I am a person whose future is worth investing in. I cannot tell you how many times a STEM or Business major has expressed their jealousy over late-night study groups with my Public Policy pals, or how much fun I have had competing in trivia, karaoke, and bowling (and winning!!) in the Ivan Allen Major Cup. There is truly something special about Ivan Allen’s School of Public Policy and I am grateful to have been a small part of it.

Jackson Caruso

Jackson Caruso

I interned at the Atlanta Board of Education in Fall 2018, as a first-year, and I believe that really speaks about the opportunities within the School of Public Policy. Georgia Tech’s close proximity to major governmental entities, diverse population, and warm weather are what drew me in. I just couldn’t leave my home state!

I stay very busy outside of classes, and my two main involvements are Georgia Tech’s Student Government Association (SGA) and GT Tour Guides. I serve as SGA’s Vice President of Communications. Being a public policy student, I have found I can apply a lot of what I learn in class to the work I do in SGA. As a tour guide, I’m one of the first faces prospective students see when they come to Tech, and it’s an outlet for me to share my GT story, my passion for the Institute, and how awesome it is being liberal arts and Public Policy major at Georgia Tech. I love that I have the opportunity to meet so many people from so many backgrounds. Coming from a small, rural town in northeast Georgia, I was often not surrounded by the same caliber of Tech students, as well as the same passion and determination I now see on a daily basis, so transitioning to college deepened my appreciation for what this university offers.

At Tech, I have met so many wonderful people who are passionate, driven, and committed to making a difference in their field. It’s rewarding and awe-inspiring to be surrounded by that community, and I’m reminded of how thankful I am each and every day.

After graduation, I plan to enter in the Teach for America program and then further my studies in education policy and law. I hope to work within the government— either at the federal or state level. I know I want to spend my life in the public sector, but even more, I want to solve problems. Today, we are faced with a host of issues impacting all communities, and as policy students, we are tasked with entering the world ready to deliver solutions to make our communities brighter, stronger, and better equipped to build a better future.

Alana Barr

Alana Barr Headshot

Switching to Public Policy has been one of the best decisions that I have made during my time as a Georgia Tech student. During my short time as a Public Policy student, I have already been given several opportunities for success and furthering my passion for global public health. One of my favorite opportunities thus far has been interning with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. Through this internship, I have been able to use my Public Policy coursework in order to aid the policy team in drafting and improving policies related to global migration and quarantine.

Majoring in Public Policy at Georgia Tech has also allowed me to explore my interests outside of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, including within the STEM field. I serve as the President of the Junior Healthy Heart Coalition, hold a position on the Executive Board of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, and serve as a Stamps Health Services Ambassador. My on-campus involvements have allowed me to understand the relationship between public policy and public health and to see how my policy education will impact the STEM field. I am forever grateful that the School of Public Policy has accepted me with open arms and continues to push me to be the best possible version of myself. I am excited to see what else I accomplish during my time at Georgia Tech, and I look forward to changing the world with the skills that I have learned as a Public Policy student.

Anne Hardin

Anne Hardin Headshot

I’m a Public Policy and Business double-major (with a Business concentration in Strategy and Innovation). The Public Policy undergraduate program at Georgia Tech is unlike any other due not only to the strong foundation classes in policy analysis and processes, but also the opportunity to specialize in different areas of policy. In your undergraduate Public Policy degree, you get to choose two of these specializations, called “clusters”. My clusters are Science and Technology Policy and Politics and Policy. Another one of Public Policy’s strengths is the problem-solving and analytical skills each student acquires throughout their time in the program. I’ve taken the skills I’ve learned in classes and applied them everywhere from my day to day assignments all the way to my internship at the US Senate.

During my time at Georgia Tech, I’ve been involved in a variety of activities, including SGA’s Undergraduate House of Representatives, a social sorority, working at Georgia Tech’s Office of Government and Community Relations, and even founding a start-up corporation. I’ve had many supporters guiding me and championing me, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve focused my attention on doing this for others. I do this through my position as VP of Internal Affairs for Society of Women in Business, Consult Your Community, the Public Policy mentorship program, and through my involvement in the School of Public Policy Undergraduate Committee. The School of Public Policy and Georgia Tech as a whole have provided me so many opportunities. I am thankful for my peers and professors in Public Policy for helping me develop and challenging me daily!

Peter Tilly

Peter Tilly headshot

When I was first applying to colleges out of high school, I decided not to apply to Georgia Tech. Getting admitted seemed impossible, and I wasn’t sure if the culture would be a good fit for me. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt to the rigor and ambition of such a well-renowned institution. After attending Georgia State for a year, I realized that I missed being surrounded by academically rigorous students. Students who were not only willing but excited, to put 110% into any goal they wanted to achieve. I decided to transfer from Georgia State, and I applied to Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. Before Georgia Tech admitted me, I had a hard time choosing between the two schools. Georgia Tech’s rigor still intimidated me, and I was worried I could fly under the radar at such a large school. However, immediately after I received my acceptance letter, I knew what the right choice was. And any fears I had made the wrong choice evaporated within my first week of attending Georgia Tech.  

The Public Policy program at Georgia Tech gets the benefits of a massive, research-driven STEM school, with the individual care, and tight-knit family of a smaller liberal arts college. I always love to tell my non-PubP friends that everyone in PubP is friends with each other. Not only does our small size create a tight bond between students, but it makes it easier to know and talk to your professors, advisors, and support staff.

Being politically focused at Georgia’s premier public university also provides many opportunities to connect with political and business leaders throughout the State. I was able to join the Georgia Legislative Internship Program at the beginning of 2019, working directly with State Senators, Representatives, Members of the State’s constitutional offices, and many other employees of Georgia’s state government. I have also listened to panels of former Georgia Tech students who work in a vast range of government-related jobs. My friends and I attended workshops with experts on cutting edge topics in public policy like big-data, cybersecurity, and global markets.

When people talk about Georgia Tech, their first thoughts go to Engineering, and we are still an engineering school. But that is one of the many reasons I came here. In policy studies, it is essential to feel comfortable leaving your bubble and learn about topics which seem impossible to grasp. Every day, I talk to future mathematicians, rocket scientists, doctors, investment bankers, architects, industrial engineers, and more — all people who play vital roles in political decision-making processes. Understanding their point of view, or even understanding what they’re talking about, will do wonders in my career down the road. This skill will help when I have to develop a cost-benefit analysis of the procurement and supply-chain of new biomedical devices. Or develop an easily implemented cybersecurity policy which minimizes human error. Or build a coalition of STEM academics to build the next generation of educational standards.