Fatima Sanz, MPA ‘18, is currently interning at the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, where she is the Project Lead for the Africa Research and Summit team. In addition to her internship, Fatima is actively involved in student government and is participating in the Penn Public Policy Challenge. Fels student Meghan Pierce, MPA '18, sat down with Fatima to discuss her career and academic experience.
What professional/academic work were you engaged in before you came to Fels?
Before coming to Fels, I helped found Teach for Qatar, an NGO aimed at providing quality education to children in Doha, Qatar and a partner organization of Teach for All network.
Why did you choose Fels to pursue your MPA?
I was first attracted to Fels because of the small program size. Additionally, the curriculum is focused on practical skills that can be applied broadly to international development work, my field of interest.
What work or research experience have you undertaken since coming to Fels?
I am currently interning at the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, where I am the Project Lead for the Africa Research and Summit team. In this role, I am organizing the 2017 Africa Think Tank Summit. I am a student representative at the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) and a member of the Fels Student Association (FSA). I am also participating in the 2017 Fels Public Policy Challenge, where I am examining alternative and sustainable solutions to tackle food insecurity in Philadlephia.
What is your favorite aspect of the Fels experience?
The small size of the MPA cohort has made it easier to form strong relationships with many of my classmates and to become familiar with everyone, both inside and outside of the classroom. It also makes it easier for staff members to get to know us better and to provide better support, academically and professionally.
How do you seek to use your Fels degree post-graduation?
I want to continue to work with NGOs on an international level. Ideally, I would manage an on-site project in a developing country and I’d be able to oversee almost all aspects of the project, from the planning phase to impact evaluation.
How has Fels influenced your understanding of public service?
As an international student studying in the U.S., I have learned a lot about American politics and grassroots activism through Fels and the wider Penn community.