Mar 24, 2014

NYU Wagner Team Wins 1st Prize in National Invitational Public Policy Challenge

Congratulations to four NYU Wagner students for winning the third annual National Invitational Public Policy Challenge hosted by the University of Pennsylvania and Governing Magazine.

The winners – Grace Boone, Ruchi Hazaray, Jose Renato Navarrete Perez, and Ran Qin – outshined teams from 11 other U.S. public policy schools with a professional-grade plan called “Latch” to create safe and sanitary community places in New York City where moms can nurse their newborns.

This was the second time an exemplary team of MPA students from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University has come out on top in the National Invitational Public Policy Challenge. Modeled after MBA business plan competitions, the Invitational challenges student teams to develop a policy proposal and civic campaign plan to bring about significant change.

NYU Wagner's team received the $10,000 first-place check on March 23, with half the funds to be divided at the team’s discretion, and the remainder to be donated to an organization of the team’s choice.

As a result of the victory, the Latch proposal will also be featured in a full page ad in a future edition of the national publication, which reaches 75,000 state and local officials each month, and on the Governing website. Meanwhile, the magazine's website includes a news article on Latch.

The students' extensive preparations were supported by NYU Wagner Clinical Professor Shankar Prasad, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service Carrie Nordlund, and Adjunct Professor of Project Management & Communication Will Carlin.

According to the team's executive summary, Latch “targets one of the most common reasons why more than 50% of new mothers in NYC abandon breastfeeding within eight weeks despite of its innumerable benefits: they feel uncomfortable nursing in public.

“By increasing access to safe, sanitary places for moms to breastfeed away from home, Latch will help moms breastfeed for longer durations, providing babies with an important nutritional start and creating a healthier community,” reads the summary document.

The Fels invitational challenge is similar to MBA business plan competitions. In 2012, an NYU Wagner team, Kinvolved, won first place with an app to track student attendance in the New York City public school system.

The 2014 winners have once again done NYU Wagner proud!

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