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Student Profile: Ben Williams, MPA '18

April 6, 2017

Ben Williams, a native of the UK, is currently pursuing an MPA at the Fels Institute of Government. Fels student Meghan Pierce, MPA '18, sat down with Ben to discuss his career and academic experience.

What work were you engaged in before you came to Fels?

I worked in a variety of policy analysis, strategy, and program evaluation roles for nonprofits in London, England, for 5 years.

Why did you choose Fels to pursue your MPA?

As a prospective student, I liked Fels’ focus on combining analysis with practical learning. I hope to focus on doing analysis work in the future, so the opportunity to further develop my analytical skills, whilst learning about the practicalities of policymaking, was appealing to me. 

What work or research experience have you undertaken since coming to Fels?

I currently work as a Research Assistant for a professor who looks at college affordability. It’s very interesting work for me, as this is a policy area I worked on in the UK, and it’s very pertinent in the US right now.

What is your favorite aspect of the Fels experience?

I really enjoy being part of a small, close-knit class. You get to know your classmates well at Fels and build a camaraderie, which I like a lot.

How do you seek to use your Fels degree post-graduation?

Initially I plan to progress to a more senior role in social policy analysis, but I ultimately hope to move into a policy administration role, or possibly into politics. In all of these careers, I’ve no doubt that the diversity of the classes I am taking at Fels will be useful to me.

How has Fels influenced your understanding of public service?

Something I’ve really enjoyed whilst studying at Fels is the opportunity to hear from many high-profile speakers, who have a variety of career experiences within the realm of public service. For example, I’ve attended talks by the editor of The Washington Post, The Governor of Maryland, the COO of the US army, a former Secretary of State, and many others including nonprofit leaders, city managers, lobbyists, and think tanks. These speakers’ insights have been a very valuable contribution to my education here. What I’ve taken away from these talks is a much more well-rounded perspective of how different careers contribute towards public service and to shaping public policy. I definitely have a broader and deeper understanding of how to contribute to public service than I did before coming to Fels.

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu