SPP Student Awards Recognize Academic Achievement, Social Justice Work

UMass Amherst: News Archive

The School of Public Policy (SPP) presented two awards to outstanding students at its graduate reception on May 10.Palista Kharel, MPPA/MBA, received the Philip Hertz Scholarship Award; Toby Armstrong, MPP, received the M.V. Lee Badgett Award for Social Justice.
The Hertz award was established in 2004 by alumnus George Hertz, a 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.
Kharel, this year’s Hertz award winner, was born and raised in Nepal and is a graduate of Kenyon College. Before enrolling at SPP, she worked as an economic research project coordinator at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board, and received a Projects for Peace grant to improve school infrastructure and student outcomes and establish a scholarship program at a rural public school in Nepal.
This spring, Kharel was invited to present her SPP capstone project, “Access to Technology and Student Academic Achievement: Evidence from Nepal,” at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management student conference. This summer she will begin work at an education-focused social enterprise in Washington, D.C., where she will support education leaders in K-12 schools to achieve student and organizational performance goals.
The Badgett award was established in 2016 in honor of Badgett, an SPP and economics department faculty member whose research and public scholarship have helped advance social equity. It is awarded each year to a graduating student whose work focuses on social justice and who demonstrates potential for future contributions to social equality.
Armstrong, the 2018 Badgett award winner, is dedicated to furthering environmental justice. As a UMass Amherst undergrad, he studied sustainable energy policy and completed a thesis on socioeconomic-based inequities in …

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