WWS Blog

Student Spotlight: Chris Johnson, MPA ’13

Mar 28, 2013
Published by:
WWS Admissions
Chris Johnson

As part of our weekly Student Spotlight series, we sat down with current student Chris Johnson and asked five questions about his life prior, during, and after attending the Woodrow Wilson School.


What did you do before studying at WWS?

I was studying at NYU majoring in International Relations and Latin American Studies immediately before matriculating at Princeton. I was awarded the Department of State’s Pickering Foreign Affairs fellowship in 2009. As part of the program, I interned with the Department of State in D.C. working in public diplomacy and at Embassy Bangkok on the Economics desk. While in NYC, I interned with congressional candidate Reshma Saujani working on fundraising and policy as well as tutored students in both the classroom and dance studio.

Chris dressed as the city of Chicago at the U.S. Mission to Bangkok’s Fourth of July Celebration in 2012.

Why did you decide to attend WWS?

I decided to attend WWS because of its strong community. NYU was quite lacking in the kind of institutional support network I take advantage of here at the Woo. In addition to academic and financial support, the WWS has a collection of some the most talented and engaging policymakers. I learn from my classmates everyday and these future benefits were evident from the moment I started meeting my classmates at hosting weekend.

What are your plans for after you graduate and how has WWS prepared you for those plans?

As a Pickering Fellow, I will start as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) in September, focusing on public diplomacy. In the interim, I’ll serve as the program assistant for the Junior Summer Institute at Princeton. As an alum of the program, I am excited to mentor undergraduate students who are building the foundations of careers in public policy. The WWS has prepared me for work as an FSO through developing my analytical skills (especially in economics and concise writing).

What has been the absolute highlight of your WWS experience?

The Woo’s Gender Policy Network hosted a dinner with Anne-Marie Slaughter to discuss family issues in the workplace. Getting to talk about a topic that has captured the nation’s attention with the author of the article that has started the recent surge is unforgettable. The students presented so many diverse perspectives on the topic, from working in the private sector, to the military, to non-traditional family settings. At one point, Professor Slaughter mentioned that she’d love to see an LGBT family in the White House. Hearing these words from such a policy powerhouse was truly validating.

What are your favorite things to do at Princeton?

I love to take in a movie at the Garden Theatre on Nassau, browse for deals at the Princeton Record Exchange, grab a bite at Mo C Mo C Sushi, or catch a dance performance at McCarter Theatre. And when the weather permits, it is really lovely to walk all around town and onto the more woodsy trails surrounding the Institute for Advanced Study.

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