Public Policy PhD, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2014
Neena's research focuses on K-12 education policy in America, racial minorities in higher education, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, and international education and social policy issues.
What are your best memories about being a graduate student in the PPOL graduate program?
I enjoyed PPOL socials, annual PPOL international lunch, and monthly PPOL student-staff meetings. These events gave me opportunity to catch up with fellow PPOL students and faculty. I also liked the well organized lectures by eminent scholars in various public policy fields. I think that such events help PPOL students grow as policy scholars.
What are the top 3 things you took away from the PPOL program?
Apart from obtaining a very valuable professional PhD degree, the PPOL program helped me develop into a scholar. I also got opportunity to develop my teaching skills. Another important learning was the required skills for thriving in professional environment including excellent and diverse faculty and several public policy relevant conferences.
What advice would you give new students about how to succeed in graduate school?
I think it is very important to focus on an area of research interest early on. Finding an advisor is another important early step. PPOL students should always keep in mind that they will receive a much valuable PhD degree in Public Policy which is very distinct from any of the individual constituent department's subject area focus. It is important for PPOL students to discharge their GA assignments professionally. However, if they face any difficulty in balancing GA assignments and study workload they should not hesitate in talking with their supervisor, PPOL Director, or their dissertation advisor.
Any suggestions or tips for job search and preparing for going on the job market?
For teaching career, most jobs that match PPOL students' profile come from Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Students should spend sometime working on their research and teaching statements. Seeking help from my advisor, Dr. Moller, and Dr Stearns has been very valuable. Also most jobs are advertized in early Fall semester, so it is prudent to be ready with all application materials by then.
What is your current job role and where?