Inside Being a Public Policy Major

Inside Being a Public Policy Major

Public policy and law is one of the more popular majors on Trinity’s campus. But, what exactly is it and how is it different from political science?

Before coming to Trinity and becoming a public policy major, I asked myself all of these questions. I would soon learn that public policy and law is an interdisciplinary version of political science. This means that rather than only taking public policy courses, students take approved courses in various departments to complete their requirements in order to be successful in fields relating to policy, law, or non-profit organizations and advocacy.

The major starts off with core classes such as “Introduction to American Public Policy,” “Fundamentals of American Law,” “Research & Evaluation,” and “Law, Argument & Public Policy.” Beyond these core classes found in the Public Policy Department, students are given general requirements such as ethics, quantitative, or legal history, which allows them to take courses in departments such as political science; women, gender, and sexuality; and economics.

The benefit of the public policy and law major, much like that of liberal arts schools in general, is that students are learning a variety of skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking in various disciplines. The result: students graduate with a large toolkit of skills and abilities.

Another key component of the major is the internship requirement. This can be fulfilled through Trinity’s Legislative Internship Program, or through any other relevant internship in Hartford. This requirement puts students in in good standing to get summer internships or jobs after graduation.

Brooke in front of the Supreme Court building
Brooke LePage ’19 at The Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., on the Washington Semester Program through American University. This study-away experience included an internship component. In addition to taking classes, exploring the city, meeting and hearing from supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I spent my semester interning in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA) at the U.S. Department of Education. During my internship, my work was focused on higher education policy.

Public policy and law majors pick a concentration within the major in order to tailor their studies and show preference and expertise in an area of policy. These concentrations range from law and society, to education policy or urban policy. Ultimately, the concentration component acts as a built-in minor for the program.

Public policy and law students can be found burning the midnight oil reading and writing case briefs, policy memos, or preparing for an oral argument. They are a dedicated group of students who enjoy the library, the cookies Professor Fulco often brings to class, Mock Trial, and avoiding their science requirement for the college like the plague.

Ever since I attended the public policy and law open house before choosing to attend Trinity, the program has felt like a family. The students bond by taking the core classes together and working on projects such as the public policy blog, The Policy Voice, to showcase the program. The public policy professors are witty, insightful, experts in their fields, and care about their students.

I am grateful that I was able to find a program that allows me to take classes in various disciplines in order to learn many skills that are valuable in the policy, law, and non-profit job markets. I am also grateful for my fellow public policy majors and professors for becoming my family away from home.

Meet My Roommates, Pt. 1

Meet My Roommates, Pt. 1

I am still amazed by the fact that even after three years (and counting!) here at Trinity, I am able to meet someone new almost everyday, or become closer with someone who was just a friendly face. Even though 2,300 students may seem a bit small at times, I am always impressed by how friendly, accessible, and hard working the student body is. Senior year has been a great time to really solidify the friendships I made previously.

I am living in a Crescent Street townhouse with eight other girls, half of whom I really didn’t know all that well before we decided to live together! Even after just a month of living together, it has been so much fun to get to know each other, make fun of each other’s quirks, and motivate each other during the particularly stressful weeks. While there are times when nine people in one townhouse can be overwhelming, it is really great to know that I can walk back at any point in the day or night and know that there will be someone there to talk to and catch up with. Even though I am still getting to know some of them myself, I wanted to share a bit more about them…without further ado, meet Anna, Maggie, and Nicole!

Anna Tyler

Anna - Roommates BlogHometown: Essex, MA
Major: Biology
Involvement on Campus: TA, Central Services employee, Biology Club, HPAP member
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
Being a TA allowed me to understand Trinity’s teaching methods from a new prospective while also allowing me to meet a range of new students.
What are you most excited for about senior year?
I am most excited about living with my closest friends in Trinity’s new townhouses.
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
I am going to miss seeing my friends everyday, and of course Goldberg’s bagels.
Best memory at Trinity? My best memory at Trinity is meeting my freshmen year roommate who turned into my best friend and four-year roommate.
Favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is sitting on the quad by the chapel.
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? Go to Bar Taco for dinner followed by Ben and Jerry’s for dessert
Trinity bucket list item? To have a class in the old, converted chapel in Seabury Hall
Favorite Class/Professor? Favorite Class: Biology of Infectious Diseases, Favorite Teacher: Dr. Archer
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall? Sushi
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity? I choose Trinity because of its strong science department and small class sizes. My older brother also attended Trinity and encouraged me to go.
Favorite residence hall? High Rise
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? Go to Thursday night trivia in Vernon Social
Anything you would change about the school? I think Trinity should place more focus on present environmental concerns and further promote “going green.”

 

Maggie Elias

Maggie - Roommates Blog

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: Public Policy and Law (Hispanic Studies and Writing, Rhetoric, & Media Arts minors)
Involvement on Campus: Writing Associate, Peter B’s barista, Global Ambassador, Club Lax, Pre-Law Society, Senior Editor for The Trinity Tripod
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
I love being a Writing Center associate. It allows me to meet new people and learn about a wealth of academic pursuits.
What are you most excited for about senior year?
Living with some of my closest friends on crescent
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
This incredible community – constantly going somewhere and seeing someone I know and care about.
Best memory at Trinity? I have way too many to just pick one.
Favorite spot on campus? Peter B’s duh
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? Eat – seriously the food in this city is underestimated
Trinity bucket list item? Climb to the top of the chapel – it’s the most incredible view
Favorite Class/Professor? Professor Cabot
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall?: Bistro’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese minus the egg
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity?
I applied to Trinity on a whim and I finally visited after I was accepted. I fell in love with the beautiful campus and how welcoming every single person was.
Favorite residence hall? Wheaton 212 forever, Crescent is a close second
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? Pull an all-nighter in the lib – you meet some really fun people at those hours
Anything you would change about the school? More bathrooms in the library 100%

 

Nicole DesrosierNicole - Roommates Blog

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Major: Psychology
Involvement on Campus: President of the Psychology Club; work the Austin Arts Center Box Office; Psi Chi member
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
The activity that has been most meaningful to me was being a teaching assistant because I got to re-experience a class I really enjoyed and act as a resource for other students, so that they could also excel in it.
What are you most excited for about senior year? The part of senior year I’m most excited about it is the change in mentality. Everyone wants to make the most of their last year, and not take anything for granted.
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
I’m most sad to leave behind the friends. Even though we’ll still be my friends, seeing each other won’t be as simple as walking across the hallway.
Best memory at Trinity? There’s too many to just pick one.
Favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is the front porch of my crescent house.
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? My favorite thing to do in Hartford is go to a concert at the Xfinity Center.
Trinity bucket list item? Climb to the top of the bell tower.
Favorite Class/Professor? My favorite class/professor was either Psychology 101 with Professor Holt, or Religions of Africa with Professor Landry.
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall? My favorite thing to get at the dining hall is a strawberry, banana, and peanut butter smoothie from the Bistro.
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity? I chose Trinity because of all the schools I looked at it was the only place I could picture myself being.
Favorite residence hall? My favorite residence hall has definitely been Crescent. You get to live with your closest friends, while still having your own space, and access to basic household amenities.
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years is spend the afternoon on the quad with their friends.
Anything you would change about the school?
If I could change one thing about the school, it would be that the genre for Spring Weekend is finally Country.