Student and Alumni Testimonials
Featured alumni videos:
"I think that the value of the Harris toolkit is just immense… It provides you with a skillset to think through the analytical problems more rigorously. I think having this kind of toolkit really puts you at the forefront, especially at this intersection of data science and public policy."
- Faraz Ahmed (MSCAPP '18), Data Scientist at the NYC Mayor's Office of Data Analytics
Hear more from Faraz
“What I found compelling about CAPP was that it was taking all of the things that I was interested in and then applying them to things that actually matter, that are really important for people’s everyday lives, in a way that would prepare me for a career of making decisions and helping make things happen. This program can’t be found anywhere else.”
- Alden Golab (MSCAPP '17), Senior Data Engineer at The New York Times
Read more from Alden and hear about their role at the NYT
Hear directly from MSCAPP students and alumni about their experience in these profiles:
"The half public policy, half computer science program is unique. It’s an excellent opportunity to grow my toolkit through on the ground work. I’m still just skimming the surface of what’s possible in terms of machine learning, Python, and big data, and I’m excited to be part of a program where I can apply what I’m learning right away."
- Caroline Kinnen (MSCAPP '22)
Read more from Caroline
"I don't know how many people don't apply because they fear they might not have the background, but I say, ‘Go for it.’ The university can see in your background the value there is to be gained.
I chose public policy because it's the best way to give back to my country, my community, my parents, and to secure the life my children will have. I have had a very blessed life—I have a wonderful wife and a healthy son. I had the best education that my country can provide. And Harris offers some of the best education the world can provide. With that privilege, there’s a responsibility to give back to your community."
- Domingo Carbone (MSCAPP '22)
Read more from Domingo
"Ultimately, I want to actually work with people and design policy to meet people’s needs. The high quality of the program’s reputation and alumni network were huge draws—but it was the people I met at Admitted Student Day that closed the deal. I found really great people here at Harris—future colleagues and friends who are smart, conscientious, and committed to making the world a better place."
- Hana Passen (MSCAPP '21)
Read more from Hana
"Before entering the workforce, I did not understand the significance and power of areas like computer science, data analytics, and statistics in solving public policy issues. Coming to Harris after two years of working, it is exciting to build a toolkit that will immediately benefit my career. The program’s unique blend of computer science and public policy ties all my interests together by allowing me to test hypotheses and gain hard skills while also challenging assumptions and making sure we are not only doing things effectively, but also for the right reasons."
- Jacob Leppek (MSCAPP '21)
Read more from Jacob
"The bent of the MSCAPP program is teaching people to use computing and data skills with the purpose of making social impact. There weren't many programs that focus on data science for the public good, and I really fell in love with the way faculty and staff support students, the way the curriculum is structured, and the interdisciplinary approach."
- Kelsey Anderson (MSCAPP '21)
Read more from Kelsey
"At Harris, we are learning how computer science principles and tools can be applied directly to public policy issues from day one, and the pace at which we’re learning has outstripped any expectations I had coming in. … Professor Anne Rogers in particular teaches us to think rigorously about every step in the process while focusing on what matters."
- Richard Chang (MSCAPP '21)
Read more from Richard
"When I started at the Harris School of Public Policy in fall of 2018, I never could have imagined that I would be finishing my second year in the midst of a global pandemic. Everyone has needed to adapt to the “new normal,” but I feel very fortunate that I’m part of a resilient and supportive community that continues to thrive even under challenging conditions... I’ve found even physical separation hasn’t dampened the wonderfully special community I’ve found during my time at Harris."
- Alec MacMillen (MSCAPP '20)
Read more from Alec
"This fall, the substance of my reflections matured from aspirational to actual: where I used to talk about 'what I will be able to do,' I now talk about 'what I can do.' Honestly, I was surprised by how quickly I became sure of my abilities vis-à-vis the learning outcomes of the program... I think this is what Harris and the Department of Computer Science had in mind when designing MSCAPP. It is exactly what I signed up for, but I don’t think I had fully grasped the awesomeness of synthesizing all the world’s knowledge into a public policy recommendation."
- Patrick Lavallee Delgado (MSCAPP '20)
Read more from Patrick
“I chose the MSCAPP degree because I want to be able to make the language of technology more understandable to policy makers. That’s why the focus of the MSCAPP program on computer science, statistics, and policy analysis appealed to me right from the start.”
- Andrés Nigenda Zárate (MSCAPP '20), Data Analytics Developer at Mathematica
Read more from Andrés
“I was already aware that Harris offered rigorous training in economics and statistics, and after reviewing the curriculum, I realized that Harris’s MSCAPP program offered me an unparalleled opportunity to combine my economics studies with training on policy research and analysis, especially from the perspective of quantitative methodologies.”
- Peter Li (MSCAPP '20)
Read more from Peter
“Harris was the only place as quantitatively intense as what I experienced in undergrad. That’s what I wanted more of in my future... The facilities are so empowering and the policy background unparalleled.”
- Emma Nechamkin (MSCAPP '19), Data Scientist at the University of Chicago Urban Labs
Read more from Emma
"Many programs designed to help the vulnerable have good intentions, but sometimes have other outcomes. This effort to help people through rigorous, data-centric methods in the social sciences can help to discern what is working from what is not working... My goal is to find new sources of data that are more reliable than surveys, but still inexpensive and accessible. Technology and big data have primarily been used in the private sector, but now they are revolutionizing the way we do research."
- Cristina MacGregor-Vanegas (MSCAPP '19), Senior Research Assistant at J-PAL
Read more from Cristina
"To me, Harris distinguishes itself from other public policy programs by treating public policy analysis as an evidence-driven and scientific discipline. I strongly believe that in order for us to collectively solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to devise solutions driven by rigorous scientific analysis and aided by modern advances in computation. No other program I looked at was as intentionally committed to this approach as Harris."
- Saptarshi Ghose (MSCAPP '19), Data Scientist at Mozilla
Read more from Saptarshi
"I’m really getting to practice the skills that I learned in my first year of the CAPP program, and applying them toward a policy issue that is really interesting and really relevant… having strong analytical skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, are just really valuable in any market, any sector."
- Joan Wang (MSCAPP '18), Data Science Instructor at Metis — on her experience as a Data Science Intern at the Urban Institute
Hear more from Joan
"I decided to learn how to code so that I could help build systems that would act as intermediaries between public officials and the citizens they serve, both asking and answering questions relevant to making choices that have a lot of impact on peoples’ lives. And so I came to the CAPP program."
- Emily Webber (MSCAPP '17), Machine Learning Specialist at AWS
Read more from Emily
“The MSCAPP program was just launching and offered a whole new dimension of computer programming, which felt like the natural extension of a quantitative program. And it built upon my pre-existing interest in coding. It was an amazing opportunity to have everything I wanted: the quantitative piece, public policy, and a whole new mastery of computer programming."
- Natnaell Mammo (MSCAPP '16), Data Scientist at The Lab @ DC
Read more from Natnaell
“The world of data analytics in the public sector is still defining itself. It’s a developing field with a lot of real opportunities for people at the intersection of public policy and computational analysis to make an impact. That makes it an exciting field to be a part of.”
- Mitsue Iwata (MSCAPP '16), Director of Data Analytics at Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Read more from Mitsue