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Kari Paine

Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Hometown: Manistee, MI
Major: Economics
Concentration: Public Policy & Urban Affairs
Study Abroad: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Really anything…if you give me ice cream I will be happy.
Best Adjective to Describe You: Indescribable?

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Learn about social issues surrounding you. Get involved. Create change. 

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
PPUA requires a great mix of classes from a variety of departments that combine to help you develop a critical eye for the policy and organization that surrounds us, helping empower you to become a more engaged citizen.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Don’t just take the courses that will be easiest for you. Push yourself to expand your thinking and take a course that is way out of your comfort zone. PPUA is about trying to understand the world through a range of different lenses.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
PPUA has helped me connect all the various experiences I have had here at K: from working to improve life on campus through Student Commission, to my major, to my externship in Chicago, to my incredible study abroad experience in Thailand, and now connecting it all with my SIP.  Without PPUA, all of these experiences would’ve been separate and disjointed.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
I have learned to see the world in a different way. K has ignited a passion for global issues and social justice within me, and PPUA combined with my major have helped me realize how I want to change these things in the world. 

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
I have really enjoyed all of the classes I have taken from the economics department, but I must say that my all-time favorite class was on study abroad (sorry this is not at K). The experiential education based classes on the Thailand program helped me put everything I learned at K into real-life situations in Thailand, which illuminated the complexity of public policy issues for me.

What is your SIP?
I will be conducting a price and quality comparison between the local Farmers’ Market produce and the produce that large superstores like Meijer advertise as “locally” grown to evaluate how competitive local produce vendors are and what policy measures could be taken to make them more competitive.  

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Ask me in June 2014, but as of now I am strongly considering applying to a grad school program for higher education and student affairs. I haven’t thrown out the possibility of abandoning urban life and becoming an organic farmer, though. ;)

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