University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate student Amanda Partridge was a member of the regional winning team at the 2020 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)-Batten Student Simulation Competition on sustainable cities and communities held March 7.
Partridge is a concurrent law and public administration student slated to graduate from the William H. Bowen School of Law and School of Public Affairs in December 2020. Partridge was among five teammates from different schools who competed together at the University of Texas at Arlington. UA Little Rock Master of Public Administration (MPA) students Kelly Troillett and Jennifer Baker also participated in the competition and placed within the top five teams.
Nearly 400 students from 114 universities in 46 countries participated in the competition, which was held onsite at a total of seven universities spanning the United States, Hungary, India, and South Korea. According to NASPAA, the event was the largest ever student simulation competition in higher education.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the NASPAA-Batten simulation,” Partridge said. “It was a wonderful experience in policy crafting and teamwork. I am thankful to have connected with the amazing women on my team and have no doubt that each of us will positively change the world in the course of our careers in policy.”
The NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition is a day-long event that allows graduate students in public policy and related fields to test their skills on real-world data. Each year, the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming develops an original participatory simulation specifically tailored for students of public policy and administration. The simulations give participants a chance to employ their knowledge in a realistic situation, as well as an opportunity to hone skills in leadership, negotiation, and critical thinking. Teams are evaluated on simulation scores, teamwork, organization, policy decision making, and policy presentations.
The 2020 competition challenged participants to lead cities to a sustainable future. Participants assumed leadership roles within a simulated city and were challenged to implement policies that achieve the most sustainable public transit system. The simulation was built using real-world data and with the help of academic experts and practitioners in the field of transportation and sustainable policy.
Since the competition began in 2015, NASPAA has challenged participants to connect health with systems thinking; support a proposal to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius; support the UN’s world-wide effort to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030; prevent a global pandemic of disease; and manage a migrant influx in a fast-paced environment.
“The success of our UA Little Rock MPA students at this competition further demonstrates the abilities of our students to compete and collaborate successfully with the best and brightest graduate students from universities across the nation and around the world,” said Dr. Jerry Stevenson, professor and graduate coordinator of the MPA program.
Partridge’s regional winning team performance will now be compared to the performance of other regional winners in the Global Super Judge Round, where prominent sustainable cities and transportation policy experts will select one Global Simulation Competition winner. The Global Simulation Competition Winning Team will be invited to attend a Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. hosted by the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Second and third place teams will receive generous cash prizes from NASPAA.
The NASPAA is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management and is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.
Photo caption: Winning teammates starting at left: Amanda Partridge (University of Arkansas at Little Rock), Macee Spencer (Louisiana State University), Jodeen Shillingford (Grambling State University), Aparajita Datta (University of Houston), and Anushree Deb (University of Texas at Austin). Photo courtesy of NASPAA.