9:15 am: I leave for my first class and walk to the Miller Learning Center with my roommates. As a student in the Applied Politics program, I start my day in Professor Watson’s Introduction to Public Affairs Communication, where the class discusses how communications can be applied to current political events. Right now, we are talking about the current state of the U.S. House.

11:00 am: The cohort then moves to Introduction to Applied Politics–taught by Dr. Haynes. She hosts guest speakers to provide valuable insight into what they do as political practitioners in campaigns, communications, legislative work, and more. I highly recommend this certificate program–you learn so much about working in public affairs and develop a skillset along the way!

12:30 pm: I break for lunch and often head to the Tate Student Center to pick up a mid-day cold brew coffee and a Chick-fil-A meal. I spend time with friends in the program (and in SPIA) and catch up on some homework or extracurricular work.

2:20 pm: We walk up the Million Dollar Staircase to get to the next class for students on the Applied Politics track–Research Methods in Political Science–and complete an assignment related to political studies. So far, we’ve focused on analyzing education and criminal justice policies using statistics and coding (I promise it’s not as intimidating as it seems!).

3:45 pm: I have a break between class and my next meeting, so I take the time to catch up on my research project. Sponsored by funding granted by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, I am working with a faculty mentor to research how creating national parks has impacted farmers and ranchers. This topic caught my interest last summer when I studied away with the SPIA National Parks Program. I was able to experience thirteen national parks and earned six hours of class credit on the politics of public land. Having a supportive faculty member within SPIA is fantastic; all faculty I have met are excited to help students learn and succeed.

5:00 pm: My next meeting is in Baldwin Hall, so I head upstairs to meet the executive fellows of the Frye Fellowship Program to plan the subsequent few sessions. As the program’s Legislative Director, I work closely with State House Representative Spencer Frye to help outline his policy priorities, develop research groups, and teach incoming fellows how to write legislative proposals. I will work a day or two a week in his office in the spring!

6:30 pm: I head home to hop on another meeting or two before working on an economics quiz and work on policy research focused on education. Thursdays are always my longest days, but are fulfilling because of all the ways I get to be involved as a student at UGA SPIA.

– Juliana Hartley (3rd year student majoring in Political Science & Economics with certificates in Data Analytics in Public Policy and Public Affairs Professional)