Five UNC MPA Students Compete in Simulation Challenge

The School of Government congratulates current Master of Public Administration students Chase Loudermelt, Jeana Taylor, Meredith Marlier, Jane Kaufmann, and Tiffany Oliva on being selected to represent the program at the 2021 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation. This day-long event allows graduate students in public policy and related fields across the world to test their skills on real-world data.    

Each year, the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming develops an original participatory simulation on a topic of relevance. Unsurprisingly, this year’s topic was oriented around pandemics. Past topics have included global migration and sustainable cities. The simulations employ a realistic situation, and participating students are randomly place in teams of five.  Under limited time, each team is provided information on the problem and then tasked with creating a policy memorandum and giving a presentation to subject area experts. 

The UNC MPA program was able to sponsor the participation of all five students in the 2021 Batten Challenge.  As a professional development opportunity, this program teaches students to build skills in negotiation, decision making, and teamwork. 

“We encourage students to participate in professional development opportunities such as these because it helps them apply theory to practice and gain important skills to support career growth,”’ said Allison Binkley, the program’s associate director for career services and professional development.  “We appreciate all of our students but would like to especially recognize our four online students and one on-campus student who participated in this opportunity.”

Current MPA student Tiffany Oliva joined students from Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Missouri, and New York University on the first place-winning team at the North American competition held last month. Her team will be competing in the global competition set to take place this week.  The School and program wish Oliva the best of fortune in their efforts. 

"The NASPAA-Batten competition was an opportunity for me to apply some of the skills I have learned in UNC’s MPA program to make quick, team decisions about economic, health, and equity policy to contain a pandemic outbreak,” she said. “It was a fun learning experience, and I am excited to have moved on to compete in the global round of the competition.

To watch Oliva compete live on Friday, April 16, view the stream here.