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American studies major passionate about public service chosen for summer policy program

The Office of Fellowships is thrilled to announce that Lauren Walcott (SESP ’24) has been chosen for the summer 2023 cohort at the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute! Through the program, Lauren will study at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Photo of Lauren WalcottLauren is a rising senior from Lawrenceville, Georgia. At Northwestern, she is studying social policy and American studies. The activities that Lauren participates in align with her dedication toward improving environmental and education policies. On campus, Lauren is the co-chair of the Associated Student Government’s newest subcommittee, Food Sustainability. As part of the subcommittee, she works to make Northwestern more sustainable and inclusive for students with alternative diets. Lauren also is a research aide in Professor Cynthia Coburn's lab. She writes policy and analytic reports on pre-K to third grade math alignment education in California.

Outside of Northwestern, Lauren volunteers for the first Participatory Budgeting Initiative in Evanston. The organization helps the Evanston community decide how to allocate $3 million toward improvements for the city. As a facilitator for the Community Building, Justice, Governance and Restorative Justice Policy Committee, Lauren and her team are writing and refining policy proposals for a public vote this fall.

Lauren’s passion for public service and policymaking led her to PPIA.

 Public Policy and International Affairs logoPPIA is a rigorous summer institute that prepares college juniors for graduate school in public and international affairs. Students have the choice to attend a public policy school at one of the six campuses: Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington. The fellowship aims to help students develop skills crucial for success in public policy, including quantitative, analytic, and communication skills. PPIA alumni may gain financial support for graduate school if they attend one of the many affiliated degree programs.

Lauren is the fourteenth Northwestern student to receive the PPIA award. Most recently, Adam Davies (SPS) won the award in 2019, and Ajoni Hopkins (WCAS ’18) received it in 2017. Alli Divine (WCAS ’16) attended the program in 2015. 

Contact Amy Kehoe at to learn more about the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute.