Today we have a guest post from SPEA second-year MPA student, Chris Wodicka. Chris is currently President of SPEA’s Education Policy Student Association (EDPOSA).
Through various student organizations, SPEA masters students can connect easily with a likeminded community around shared academic and professional interests. I personally can attest to this aspect of the SPEA experience. As someone who hoped to pair a passion for K-12 education with more substantive, real-world knowledge, I knew I had to become more familiar with the entire education policy context. I was immediately drawn to the Education Policy Student Association (EDPOSA).
Now in its third year of existence, EDPOSA functions as a unique cross-campus entity under which students from multiple disciplines and perspectives can come together. As part of its organizational mission, EDPOSA seeks to facilitate discussion about different education policy topics while also providing opportunities for interaction between students and experts in the field. More generally, the group serves as an education policy information and resource hub for the IU community. In this role, its student-led executive board distributes an electronic newsletter each Monday to a listserv of approximately 380 undergraduate and graduate students, education professionals, and alumni. These newsletters highlight different education policy opportunities such as upcoming events on campus and in Indianapolis or job and internship openings. However, EDPOSA doesn’t just announce opportunities but actively helps students take advantage of them, whether that’s the officers organizing a carpool up to Indianapolis or a faculty advisor arranging one-on-one meetings with potential employers.
EDPOSA is always sponsoring or co-sponsoring events on campus as well. At times, it seems like EDPOSA has an event every week. Typically, these have included film screenings, career workshops, and guest speakers – ranging from scholars like Dick Murnane and Susanna Loeb to public officials like Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana’s State Superintendent for Public Instruction. EDPOSA also hosts a popular brown bag lunch series that, for this semester, takes place every other Thursday at 12:30pm. At these sessions, students gather to enjoy free pizza and informally discuss topics like the Chicago teacher strike or affirmative action in higher education.
Before entering SPEA, I wouldn’t have guessed that a roomful of us would be Skyping Checker Finn of the Fordham Institute or that I’d be moderating a panel on Indiana school finance. Ultimately, all of EDPOSA’s activities emphasize a few common objectives: to enable students to supplement their academic programs and to grow as professionals and for IU to engage with the larger national conversation on education policy. As the President of EDPOSA for this school year, I hope to continue this tradition.