Research and Policy Associate, Piece of the Pie® (OPP)
Samantha Watson is currently the Research and Policy Associate at Our Piece of the Pie ® (OPP) in Hartford, CT. OPP is a youth-first nonprofit serving over-age, under-credited youth ages 14-24 and is a Charter Management Organization (CMO) to Path Academy Windham Charter School. During her studies as a graduate student, Samantha completed the Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) Program at OPP. She was the Academic Policy Intern assisting in research and education policy legislation as it pertained to the organization. In her current position at OPP, Samantha serves as liaison between OPP’s school sites and the nonprofit coordinating research projects, developing legislative memos, and assisting in data analysis using both STATA and Microsoft Excel.
Samantha received her MPA degree in 2015 from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy (DPP). During her time with the DPP, Samantha also received a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Originally interested in environmental policy, the experience she had through the IPP Program and her graduate coursework sparked a new-founded interest in education policy, where she loves the excitement and challenges facing the sector.
Prior to completing the MPA Program, Samantha earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology concentrating in Global Diversity from the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in 2013. Uncertain of her next move, Samantha was drawn to the MPA program for its curriculum and the dedication of faculty and staff to student success.
Her advice to new and current MPA students is to, “get to know the people in your cohort. The people you meet in this program have diverse backgrounds, yet all leave with high-quality skills. Do not be afraid to reach out to one another during and after the program to partner on ideas or projects. People love to collaborate, especially over coffee!” Samantha looks forward to continuing her professional experience within education policy and is grateful for the hard work of the faculty and staff at the DPP who equipped her with the skills needed to be successful in her career.