2020 brought upon us the unexpected: a global pandemic that forced many of us to stay at home, temporarily leave behind our routine schedules, and paused large gatherings. But not even a global pandemic can stymie the PPIA alumni network from finding innovative ways to connect and share our collective knowledge. 

With an alumni-focused approach, members of alumni chapters from Southern California, Chicago, and D.C. coordinated a summer-long webinar series to provide professional, educational, and social opportunities for alumni across the United States and the world. The idea sprouted after alumni in the Facebook group asked for information on how to deal with the employment process during a recession, seeing how the pandemic started to affect the economy. Simone Globo, PPIA’s Executive Director, tapped on the alumni chapters to answer the call for support. When we convened to strategize our response to the call, we realized that we could take advantage of the unique opportunity the pandemic presented to strengthen our community ties by connecting alumni online. With the pandemic giving rise to the use of video conferencing, we decided to host a series of webinar opportunities over the course of the summer, and in doing so, alumni events were no longer limited to a person’s geographic location. 

Our strongest asset as an alumni community is the expertise and experiences that exist in each one of us. Together, we curated discussions on navigating the job search amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,  shared valuable insights on the graduate application process, hosted deep dives on policy areas, and created space for authentic connection through alumni social hours. The summer series serves as an example of the power that alumni can harness when we come together and work collaboratively to overcome some of the most difficult and unexpected obstacles. 

The National Alumni Team would like to thank every person who participated in a webinar over the course of the summer, whether as a panelist or an attendee. With your support, we are ushering in a new era for PPIA, where dialogue, collaboration, engagement between regional alumni chapters is the norm as we work to accomplish our shared goals. While we may not know when our world will return to normal, we hope to continue tapping into the power of our alumni network and build our community! 

We’ve included below a list of the webinars and the Google Drive to access event recordings and resources. 

Best regards, 

PPIA 2020 Webinar Series National Alumni Team 

Simone Gbolo, PPIA Executive Director

LaSandra Hutchinson, Princeton 2003, Chicago Chapter

Leah Castleberry, Carnegie Mellon 2014, Chicago Chapter

Brian Martin, Michigan 2015, Chicago Chapter

Kayla Butler, Carnegie Mellon 2019, Chicago Chapter

Magaly Lopez, Berkeley 2007, Southern California Chapter

Oscar Alvarez, Berkeley 2016, Southern California Chapter

Shyheim Snead, Princeton 2017, Washington DC Chapter

Samuel Cervantes,  Berkeley 2018, Washington DC Chapter

Shadi Nasabzadeh, Princeton 2019, Washington DC Chapter

PPIA 2020 Summer Webinar Series

The webinar series included 8 events centered around the employment process, graduate school admissions, and professional development. We also hosted a PPIA Alumni Town Hall and an event during the PPIA Expo for the 2020 JSI cohorts on becoming a PPIA alumni. 

Employment Process

  • Finding the Best Jobs for Your Interests and Skills (Federal Jobs): USA Jobs, Resume Building, Job Hunting Tips in 2020 (recording/resources)

Graduate School Admissions

  • MPP or JD – Why Not Both? A Conversation on an MPP/JD Degree Combination (recording/resources)
  • Public Policy vs International Affairs: Which Masters Program is for You? (recording/resources)

Professional Development

  • Pathways in Public Service: PPIA Alumni Leading the Way in Immigration Policy, Foreign Policy, and International Development (recording/resources)
  • Pathways in Public Service: PPIA Alumni Leading the Way in Social Policy & Education Policy  (recording/resources