Students bring innovative solutions to GPS Policy Competition 

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Students at the GPS Policy Competition

School-wide initiative invites students to showcase real-world problem-solving to professional partners

As part of an ongoing experiential learning effort, the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) held its annual policy competition, a student-led initiative for the past two years. 

This year, students Dylan Schneider, Muhtadi Faiaz, Jocelyn Huitron Gutierrez and Jonathan Elkobi, took over organizing duties. Recognizing the competition’s significance to students, the new planning team collaborated with GO GPS and secured a new partnership with the dean’s office. 

“Dylan and Faiaz were very deliberate in selecting professional partners,” said Kemi Talabi, Associate Director of Employer Engagement for the GPS Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC). “We were thrilled to connect them with employer and alumni contacts, who contributed case ideas, judged solutions and engaged in networking.” 

The students worked to recruit external organizations, including Solar Turbines, a San Diego-based company, and Manaus, an alumni-owned consulting firm. 

The competition, held in April, featured three teams pitching solutions with policy memos and slide decks to a panel of judges, including Dean Caroline Freund, Teddy Martinez ’19, Daniel Reitz and Christina Macatee from Solar Turbines, and Bryn Philibert ’18 and Ana Quiroz ’14 from Manaus. 

Participating teams were given a policy prompt and were tasked with developing actionable recommendations and solutions.

The policy competition winners were Taysia Leung and Harrison Cho for the Solar Turbines case and Yuxuan Wu, Zhuohan Fang and William MacMillan for the Manaus case. 

“I learned a lot about cooperating with people from different academic and cultural backgrounds,” Wu said. “This competition exposed me to real-world supply chain problems.” 

Fang emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and evidence-based policymaking.

“The competition required us to skim through large documents, piece together data from multiple sources and write succinctly,” Cho said. 

The winners said they appreciated applying their classroom knowledge to real issues. 

“I used many of the skills from the national security class from V. Adm. Robert Thomas, as well as other courses regarding the intersection of policy and security,” Leung explained.

The GPS Policy Competition continues to be an invaluable experience, blending academic learning with practical application and fostering skills essential for future policymakers.

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