The Nuts and Bolts of Public Policy

Author: Dan Bernick, C’14

As I began thinking about graduation next year (fingers crossed!), I realized how glad I was to have chosen Penn.  Every school in the country can teach from a textbook. But at Penn, there are opportunities to apply what you learn in the classroom to the real world.

Take the Fels Public Policy Challenge.  Teams of students from all twelve schools at Penn must find a feasible solution to a public policy problem that plagues Philadelphia.

Public Policy Logo

The first part of the Challenge requires teams to come up with an idea.  On my team, Kayla thought of a text-message reminder system for mental health patients.  This way, mental health patients will remember to attend their doctor appointments and are more likely to benefit from treatment.  We called ourselves re:Mind.

The second part of the Challenge is where the rubber meets the road. My team has reached out far and wide to administrators and community members, doctors and professors, to understand how health care works in Philadelphia.  Asking the question, “How do we get from idea to reality?” is what separates the Fels Public Policy Challenge from a normal classroom assignment.

Finally, we have to sell our idea.  We have worked with professional lobbyists and public speaking coaches to refine our presentation.  If you want to see it, or any of the other finalists, come to the Public Policy Challenge Finals on Sunday, February 24.  You can RSVP here.

felsPhoto Credit: Fels



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