Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, Payton Johnson has an undeniable passion for public service and conducting policy research on any and all topics. While attending the University of Georgia for undergrad, Payton accumulated various internships, scholarships, and participated in on-campus commitments, such as serving on the executive board of the non-profit MEDLIFE @ UGA. Her internships include policy and research work for local government (DA’s Office in Athens), non-profit organizations (The Bail Project), and private companies (Major Cities Chiefs Association). She has an affinity for criminal legal reform, health policy, and non-profit management. Payton obtained a Bachelor’s of Biology and a minor in Criminal Justice Studies in May of 2022 and is excited to continue her education through the MPA program at UGA.


Bachelor’s of Biology | University of Georgia, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences | 2022 | Biology, Minor in Criminal Justice Studies

More About

Educational Experiences

As a dedicated student, Payton received multiple scholarships to support her college experience. She has received the Zell Miller Scholarship, as well as outside funding. She is a recipient of the Watson Brown Foundation’s self-named scholarship. Additionally, she received the Christopher Henry Vaught Scholarship for Science Policy gifted by the UGA Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry to participate in her policy internship through the Washington Semester Program at UGA. Through WSP, she was able to intern with the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a private association that had her craft police reform policy and research key issues.

Career Goals

Payton wishes to leverage her experiences and education to enter the policy world by working for a non-profit or government office that promotes equity in multiple policy areas.

Relevant Work Experience

Payton currently serves as the Government Affairs & Policy Intern for EducationSuperHighway, a San Francisco-based non-profit that aims to close the divide in Broadband Connectivity. Previously, she has served as a Policy Intern and Senior Data and Research Intern over the course of a year for The Bail Project, a non-profit that aims to reform bail policy in the U.S. Additionally, she has served as a Policy Intern for the Major Cities Chiefs Association, crafting police reform legislation for this private entity.

Of Note

Recipient of the Watson Brown Scholarship (2018-2022), Recipient of the Christopher Henry Vaught Scholarship for Science Policy (2021), Executive Board Member of MEDLIFE @ UGA (2020-2022)

Research Interests

Non-profit, social justice, and public policy