Michelle Plunkett is a second year graduate student in the Master of Public Affairs program at the The University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She plans to graduate in May of 2018.
Prior to starting her master’s degree, Michelle completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology degree at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated with highest honors (Summa Cum Laude) and Bronze Tablet Honors (top 3% of the entire university graduating class) as well as completed the program in only three years. Her interests in public policy and research were discovered while studying music through seeing the impact that policy has on public arts programs and how reductions in funding for these programs negatively impact communities.
During the Summer of 2017, Michelle worked as a Research Intern in Washington, D.C. at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the Office of Research & Analysis. At the NEA, Michelle gained firsthand experience working and conducting research in a federal agency. Her work as an intern involved combining internal agency data with other federal datasets to inform members of Congress of the economic impact of the NEA’s grant-making at the state- and congressional district-levels.
Michelle’s current research interests include using data to inform decision-making through statistical analysis, visualization, and GIS mapping.