Student spotlights: Parker Nash (MPA/MIA 2021)

Get to know one of our second-year MIA students who's pursuing the ATLANTIS dual-degree programme with the Maxwell School.

For this week’s student spotlights, we interviewed Parker Nash (MPA/MIA 2021), an ATLANTIS dual degree second-year student from the United States. In the spring, he’ll graduate with both a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York, and a Master of International Affairs from the Hertie School in Berlin.

Why did you choose the ATLANTIS dual degree with the Maxwell School and the Hertie School?

I chose the Atlantis Program because I had an extremely positive study abroad experience during my bachelor’s studies and was motivated to pursue a transatlantic master’s program to bring my education back to a European context. The Maxwell School and the Hertie School both enjoy preeminent status on their respective continents, so an education that provided experiential elements in New York and Berlin was an easy choice. The deciding factors for me came down to structural elements. I really appreciated the two-year study plan and how classes were designed to provide a concentrated look at various policy areas.

What have been your favourite courses so far, during your first year in Syracuse and now your second in Berlin?

Without sounding clichéd, it really is hard to pick my favourite classes from Maxwell because they are truly all so good.

Public Budgeting, one of the foundational courses for the MPA, is an excellent course. I constantly reference this class when discussing issues of stakeholder budgeting and fiscal governance. Economics for Public Decisions with Dr. Peter Wilcoxen and International Management with Dr. Jonathan Beagles provided extremely practical experience that improved my analytical and organizational skills. Finally, in my spring semester at Maxwell, Quantitative Analysis with Dr. Katherine Michelmore, and State and Local Finance with Dr. John Yinger were fantastic. The progression of courses works to hone analytical tools, with Quantitative Analysis placing heavy weight on the importance of well-designed and ethical research, and State and Local Finance focusing on the economic effects of state and local policy decisions.

Hertie has also offered an excellent selection of courses during fall semester. My favourite class from this semester is Cultural Policy with Dr. Helmut Anheier. This class provides insight on the domestic and international cultural policies of states and has included a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural sector, with research focusing on amelioratory and future-oriented sustainability policies.

What are you looking forward to for the spring semester – and afterwards?

For spring semester, I am looking forward to focusing on my master’s thesis project and hopefully being able to travel and have my family visit me in Berlin. Uncertainty has become a normal part of life at the moment; however, Hertie has a great support system and the professors have been great sources of encouragement.

What advice would you give prospective students interested in pursuing an international, transatlantic dual degree like yours?

Be courageous! Times seem crazy right now, but our ability to endure is critical. Be open to change and realize that your two-year journey is all part of a process. Your goals and expectations may change over time, so be prepared to learn about yourself. Maxwell was one of the most supportive environments I have ever worked in and I have experienced significant personal growth at Hertie. Keep an open perspective and be prepared to challenge your assumptions while learning new things!

Berlin and Syracuse are quite different cities. How would you compare your experiences living in both places, and are there any favourite spots you can recommend in each?

Berlin and Syracuse are quite different! As a native Syracusan, living in Syracuse was quite normal for me and was a nice change of pace from living in Ohio for my bachelor’s degree. Most students will find Syracuse an intimate environment and I felt I was able to connect with a lot of people and form fantastic friendships. I would recommend learning the public transportation system when arriving in Syracuse, and planning to take advantage of the car-sharing services available, as many of Syracuse’s charms that are not on campus require short journeys.

The experience in Berlin has been quite different due to the pandemic, but it has given me a chance to explore my neighbourhood and make short day trips to different parts of the Berlin area. I recommend checking out Treptower Park, Grunewald, and Potsdam as part of a staycation!

Could you sum up your ATLANTIS dual degree experience for us in one word?



Learn more about the ATLANTIS dual-degree programme and find out how to apply today.

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