SPA Students Places Top Three at International Competition

March 19, 2020


The UNM School of Public Administration was represented in one of the top three teams to compete at the recent NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition.

NASPAA or the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration unites together more than 300 institutions from around the world, representing the public administration, public policy, public affairs and non-profit fields. It’s annual Student Simulation Competition places participants on teams, challenging and testing their public policy and administration skills.

batten-spapic-2020Five UNM students, two of which are in the School of Public Administration, participated in this year’s event in Arlington, TX: Amanda DiMercurio, Nao Fukami, Mariah Rimmer, Cheyenne Trujillo, and Dana Howarth (L-R).

“Teams competed as different cities, and were directed to work together to create policies to improve public transportation and decrease CO2 emissions in the assigned city,” said UNM MPA student Dana Howarth, whose team placed third overall in the competition.

“This experience allows students to dive into public roles to assess public policy implementation and engage in real life decision-making for public affairs,” added Amanda DiMercurio. “The simulation fostered networking between future public servants and opportunity to learn from various perspectives around the country.”

The teams were made up of students from around the world, enabling participants to both network with and learn from their peers. The collaborative exercise also encouraged different perspectives of thought, exhibited through the diversity of each team member’s geographic orgin.

“As an international student from Japan, my personal goal here at UNM is to be open-minded and break out of my comfort zone,” said Nao Fukami. “We learned a lot about leadership, data-analysis, decision-making and community engagement skills from our teammates from the U.S., Colombia and Puerto Rice.”

"The biggest take away I got from this experience was learning how to build a team with different values, expertise and working collaboratively,” said UNM SPA student Cheyenne Trujillo. “We also learned how important it was to have community support and engagement in order to do any projects. It was a great experience to learn how to manage these issues from different positions.”

"I felt that being able to attend the simulation was the highlight of being apart of my MPA program," added Mariah Rimmer. "I believe that this opportunity has put into perspective the type of work I will be doing as I progress in my career with the government."

The UNM students were chosen to attend through a nomination process. Students interested in learning more should contact UNM’s School of Public Administration.

Credit: UNM Newsroom