Two students were honored for their dedication to public service at the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy’s (SPP) virtual celebration of its class of 2020 on May 7.
Olivia Laramie and Jessica Sizer received Philip Hertz Scholarship Awards, established in 2004 by alumnus George Hertz, ’69, MPA ’73, an emeritus member of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences advisory board, in honor of his father, Philip Hertz, a lifelong public servant. The scholarship recognizes academic achievement, commitment to public service, and potential to make outstanding contributions in public policy and management.
“Through their commitment to making positive social change for the common good, Olivia and Jessica exemplify the mission of the School of Public Policy,” said SPP director Alasdair Roberts. “They’ve already achieved so much during their time here, and we’re excited to see the things they’ll go on to do in their careers.”
Laramie, who received her master of public policy and administration, is interested in international nonprofit work, humanitarian aid, and immigration reform. For several years she interned with Pure Water for the World, an international nonprofit that partners with communities in Central America and the Caribbean to help establish sustainable safe water, hygiene, and sanitation programs. In 2019, Laramie received Pure Water for the World’s inaugural Carolyn Crowley Meub Women Empowerment Scholarship, in recognition of her commitment to changing the lives of girls and women in developing countries. This spring, at the 16th International Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, Laramie presented a paper about her research with Pure Water for the World’s Menstrual Hygiene Management Program in Honduras. She received her bachelor’s in journalism and anthropology from UMass Amherst in 2018.
Sizer, who received a master of public policy through SPP’s 4+1 program, has an interest in local government management and one day hopes to work as a town manager. A founding member of the UMass Amherst student chapter of the International City/County Management Association, Sizer has interned with the office of U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, the Palmer Town Manager’s Office and the National Governors Association. She has also worked for the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, where she researched barriers to employment as part of the Working Cities Challenge. In 2019, Sizer became the youngest person ever elected to the town council in her hometown of Palmer. That same year, she received her bachelor’s in political science from UMass Amherst.