Elizabeth Johnson ‘21

Deep in the policy weeds at Georgetown U.

Izzy Johnson at Georgetown University

Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson ’21 has taken her love of public policy from Pitt-Bradford to the nation’s capital, where she combines her master’s degree studies at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University with internships that allow her to gain experience in and explore the world of public policy.

Now in her first year at Georgetown, she spent the fall as an intern with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank focused on the size of the federal budget. Currently, she is interning with a firm that examines state and local government affairs to help her decide at what level of government she would like to work.

Johnson said she came to Pitt-Bradford with an interest in politics, and her professors steered her toward policy. “I enjoy being in the weeds,” she said. “My professors saw that and put me on the track I’m on.”

In addition to history-political science, Johnson studied economics and international affairs at Pitt-Bradford, graduating as a triple major. She got a bit of practical governing experience as well as president of the Student Government Association in her junior year.

Being SGA president gave me an appreciation for how diverse the student body is and how difficult it can be to get everyone from diverse backgrounds on the same page.

“Trying to represent the interests of students is hard work when not all students have the same interests. It taught me a lot about balance and nuance when working with large groups of people.”

She gained further leadership skills as a resident advisor, history tutor and member of the volleyball team for three years (the fourth was cut due to the pandemic). Despite high grades and a notable resume, she found applying to graduate schools daunting. At first, she hesitated to apply to a school with Georgetown’s impressive reputation, but her adviser, Dr. Helma de Vries-Jordan, associate professor of political science, (or “Dr. D” as Johnson calls her) encouraged her to apply and supported her throughout her graduate school search.

Now Johnson is studying with a 50% scholarship and has her sights set on a career in policy evaluation or analysis.