March 28, 2017

SIPA’s Urban and Social Policy concentration and United States regional specialization hosted a group of students from the U.S. Military Academy on March 21. Captain Meghan Starr MPA ’16, a U.S. Army officer and USP graduate who lectures on American politics at West Point, arranged for the visit by 12 cadets who participate in the academy’s Domestic Affairs Forum. The cadets met with both SIPA students (including students who are military veterans) and SIPA faculty.

  • USP faculty who took part were David Dinkins, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Ester Fuchs (who directs the USP concentration and U.S. specialization), Christina Greer, and Michael Nutter.

  • While many SIPA students with military experience study in the International Security Policy concentration, Starr said she was drawn to Urban and Social Policy because military bases are like small cities. She observed that bases provide a full range of services while interacting with neighboring municipalities and various levels of government.  

  • Many of the visiting cadets said they wanted to continue their education at SIPA or a similar program.  

  • SIPA students in the USP concentration and U.S. specialization were on hand to exchange ideas about SIPA programs, their research, classes and Capstone projects, and to discuss how to integrate urban and social policy issues into civic service careers.


Mayor Dinkins with Professor Fuchs addressing Cadets and SIPA students.

  • Mayor Dinkins, himself a military veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1940s, said he was very supportive of the cadets. He commended them for pursuing careers in public service, rather than looking to “see their names in lights.”

  • Mayor Nutter thanked the students for their service and urged them to find positions where they will have opportunity to make others’ lives better—in teaching, public service, or another field.  


Mayor Nutter with Students


  • Greer reminded students that politics and political science are not the same, while Hertel-Fernandez discussed the importance of studying and interacting with all levels of government not just federal.

  • Fuchs concluded the faculty session by observing that careers which provide continual learning are the most rewarding.

  • SIPA students who participated are planning a reciprocal trip to West Point—either later this semester or this fall.

Thanks to USP coordinator Danielle Petretta for contributing this account.

Pictured at top (from left): Cadet-in-Charge of the Domestic Affairs Forum John Reynolds, Assistant Professor Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Professor Ester Fuchs, Captain Meghan Starr, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Visiting Professor Christina Greer; (seated) Mayor David N. Dinkins.