Undergraduate student Jordan Teixeira took a unique path to becoming a public policy major at the UMD School of Public Policy. His public policy journey began when he was attending DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md.
He participated in an Intelligence Center for Academic Excellence junior scholars program for public policy in high school, and he says he drew inspiration from Research Professor William Nolte. “Professor Nolte’s expertise in cybersecurity heavily influenced me in entertaining the idea of possibly getting into public policy someday,” Teixeira says. “And here we are about 6-7 years later and I’m a senior public policy major.”
Since there was no undergraduate major for public policy when he entered the University of Maryland as a freshman, Teixeira began college as a journalism major. “Despite being deeply involved with public policy throughout my entire time in high school, I had a very strong love for writing,” he says. “I believe everything happens for a reason though, and journalism didn’t end up working out for me. Knowing that I already had a great background in public policy made everything a smooth transition for me, and it just so happened that the brand new major was just being rolled out when I decided to “return home” and officially declare as a public policy major.”
Teixeira says one of the best benefits of studying policy at the School of Public Policy is the location. “I think being so close to the center of this nation’s political sphere is an unmatched perk of studying public policy at SPP. So many more opportunities present themselves in this area because of the organizations and companies that are involved in the world of public policy being stationed in the DC metropolitan area.”
The School’s undergraduate public policy major debuted last year, and Teixeira says he’s enjoying being a part of the inaugural graduating class. “Everyone in the department has been so hands-on with me personally, which has helped me grow so much within this particular major and opened my eyes to what I really want to do with myself after UMD,” he says. “My class has a close-knit family feel to it since we are all going through this together for the first time ever, which is something that will not often be found in your average college major.”
In addition to his academic activities, Teixeira says he’s been exploring internships and hands-on learning experiences in the policy realm to bolster his career after graduation. “I had an internship last summer at the National Defense University and worked under Army Major Matthew Feehan. I learned so much from him about public policy, life and being a professional,” he says. “Being able to learn from a member of our armed forces every day is something I never dreamed of doing, and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. SPP has put me in a great position to be able to meet and work with people such as Major Feehan, and this is why I am so proud to call [public policy] my true academic home.”
“My biggest takeaway from my own personal policy journey is that we’re all in this together,” Teixeira says. “Using the resources/people around you can go so far in helping one achieve the goals they set.”