Making Course Selections with Hannah Watson

Hannah Watson, MPP'24

October 26, 2023

Hannah Watson, MPP'24Time for a brief flashback: It’s January 29th, a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. I've wasted the entire morning trying to find a quiet place to study and read. In spite of this, I started thinking about the analytical tools I've learned this year and in the past. This includes accessing social incentives through intersectionality and using my sociology background. This became my superpower. However, I realized I need to develop skills in implementation and cost-benefit analysis to create and suggest social policies.

Although most of my cohort had experience with politics, non-profits, the Peace Corps, and the UN, my undergrad studies were my superpower. During my undergrad, I learned and developed a lot of skills. While studying biology, I learned the skill of research; regardless of the topic, research is still research. If you understand the process and get results, it's fine. I didn’t realize how valuable having a research background could be. Policy analysts use research to gain an objective view of society and the implementation of policies. Researchers can be used as a holistic approach in public policy. The sociology degree I earned helped me understand society's history and how culture developed in today's world. It's important to look at incentives from all angles, regardless of one's perspective and basis, because that's a key component of public policy.  

Ideally, I'd like to be Director of Policy Reform at the US Immigration Department. If not, I'd love to be Director of International Reform of Social Relations Policies. In such positions, I think knowledge of research and understanding human society's functionality are essential, along with cost-benefit analysis and implementation skills. If I become a director, I'd like to know how policies are implemented and who's involved. I'd also like to know what implementation analysis entails.  

To understand and learn cost benefits analysis, you need to do implementation analysis, too. Knowing the costs and benefits of a decision or taking action is an essential skill in policy development and implementation. Here’s the best part, Heller offers this course! It’s called Social Policy Analysis: Technique and Application, which focuses on the conceptual framework of policy analysis, Policy analysis and its place in the policy process, the criteria for evaluating and understanding policy, quantitative techniques and cost effectiveness analysis. This is perfect, to learn all these tools and skills in just one course.