WWS Blog

Change is in the Air

Feb 24, 2014
Published by:
Melissa Lyles

For the past nine years at the Woodrow Wilson School, I have participated on the admissions committee, read and evaluated applications for admission to our Junior Summer Institute program and served on the selection committee for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Programs, a collaborative effort between the United States Department of State and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

This is my first official season reading applications full-time in my new role as Graduate Admissions Officer since transitioning from a student affairs position at the School last fall. I have truly been inspired in reading so many incredible applications for admission to our Master in Public Affairs (MPA) program.

I have been engrossed in the wonderfully written personal statements of volunteer work in developing countries and the sacrifices made by individuals taking unpaid internships and minimally paid teaching assignments. I have been transported to Columbia, Peru, South Korea, Kenya, El Salvador, Cuba, Israel, Detroit, California, Washington, D.C. and many other countries and cities by visionaries who are determined to make change and dedicate their careers for the public good.

It is very encouraging to know that so many people are optimistic about making global change for the common good, through their governments on the local, state and federal levels. Many applicants aspire to implement policy through the U.S. Foreign Service, the United Nations, national and international nongovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations. Applicants want to achieve these goals by reforming health care and education, reducing poverty through economic analysis and grassroots advocacy and participating in private-public partnerships.

The WWS Admissions Committee has its work cut out over the next several weeks in deciding between so many talented and compassionate individuals (final decisions will be sent out by mid-March). I am confident that many of the applicants will contribute greatly to the world, regardless if they are trained at WWS. Thus, I am grateful for the opportunity to have “met” so many wonderful change agents.


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