Penn State School of Public Policy MPP students Kenny Gatten, Jeremy Hoffman, ShiAnne Mack, Christian Manalac, and Qian Zhang recently participated in the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration’s (NASPAA) annual student simulation exercise. The all-day event took place on Saturday, March 4, at the Ohio State University.
The NASPAA Simulation Competition is an annual event in which students from around the world learn through experience in a unique, innovative learning opportunity. Students connect classroom theory to practice by taking on real-world challenges in real time to achieve skills that will prepare them for their roles as future public service professionals.
Working in teams with students from across the Northeast and Midwest regions, participants were assigned specific stakeholder roles and were tasked with collaborating on a joint wildfire mitigation plan for the fictional town of Westmount.
The event provided an invaluable opportunity for our students to test their problem-solving, communication, and policy analysis skills, while also networking with other future public service leaders from across the country.
Speaking about the event, MPP student Christian Manalac, who was part of the winning team that will now advance to the next round of the competition, commented, “As a first-year MPP student with limited real-world policy experience, it was a really useful exercise. Working with other members of my team, whose own interests often conflicted with my own, was challenging to say the least. However, through negotiation and compromise, we managed to develop a wildfire mitigation plan that satisfied all stakeholders – it certainly made me realize how integral it is to be able to communicate effectively as a team in order to solve complex and often unpredictable policy problems. My time at the NASPAA simulation was such a great learning experience and has reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career as a public policy professional”.