The Public Policy Track— one of two tracks offered by the American Studies Program— places you in the middle of current, pressing public policy issues under debate on Capitol Hill.

We focus on the political difficulties that policymakers face when economic, humanitarian, and rule-of-law or national security priorities come into conflict with one another. In order to effectively clarify and compare the moral reasoning behind competing policy positions, we directly engage Washington, DC policy professionals working on all sides of the issue.DHS

For example, in Public Policy’s 5-week group study of immigration policy, we visited with the Pew Research Center and the National Conference of State Legislatures to learn about historic trends in immigration flows and policy. We visited the National Council of La Raza and NumbersUSA to hear two very different perspectives on what good immigration policy looks like. We visited the Republican Chief Counsel and Democratic Chief Counsel on the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. And we concluded our fieldwork by meeting with the Deputy Assistant Director of Service Center Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (who is also a proud ASP alum). Students will present their findings and policy recommendations at a conference we hold in a Congressional hearing room in April.

Citizenship & Immigration, DHS
James McCament (far right), an ASP alumnus, is the Deputy Assistant Director of Service Center Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This type of direct engagement is what makes ASP’s experiential education stand apart from on-campus learning. Instead of researching immigration policy by checking out books from your campus library, you will be interviewing the stakeholders themselves. You collect your research straight from the source!

Students await the arrival of the presenter at the National Council of La Raza.

If you are a major in Political Science, Government, History, International Relations, Criminal Justice, Pre-Law, or Public Policy, we encourage you to consider joining this study track! To learn more, click here.

See below for more pictures of the Public Policy Track at work, both in the classroom and in the field.

World Vision
For research on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA-UAC), this group interviewed a senior advisor at World Vision. [L to R: Kelsey Munroe (Mount Vernon Nazarene University), Ryan Bolton (Friends University), Ashley Fisher (Vanguard University), and Carlye Poff (Wheaton College). Not pictured: Jillian Pascua (Vanguard University)]
PPI in class.jpg
Discussing policy advocacy and diplomacy in the ASP Classroom.
Ann Morse, Program Director of the Immigrant Policy Project at the National Conference of State Legislatures, explains the role of state and local governments in federal immigration policy.
For another perspective on immigration policy, the students hear from Eric Ruark, the Director of Research at NumbersUSA.
(L to R) Randy Lohman (Messiah College), Aundrea Piacentini (Fresno Pacific University), Daulton DePatis (Olivet Nazarene University), and Alex Ruple (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) discuss sanctuary cities with policy advocates at the American Civil Liberties Union.


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