Junior Alana Murray lands coveted Public Policy and International Affairs fellowship at Carnegie Mellon

Headshot of Alana Murray
Alana Murray

MACON — Mercer University Junior Alana Murray was recently accepted to the prestigious Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute (JSI) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The PPIA is a national fellowship program that prepares students for a master’s degree in public policy, international affairs or other related fields. Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College has hosted the program since 2004, and students who successfully complete the institute and earn admission to any of the College’s full-time master’s programs will receive a full-tuition scholarship and stipend.

The program fellows will take courses in statistics, economics, domestic policy analysis and international policy analysis and will receive intensive training in quantitative skills, communication skills and leadership skills. In addition to learning from world-renowned faculty, PPIA students will be exposed to research activities from leading research centers.

Murray, a criminal justice and cybersecurity double major, said she wanted a summer opportunity that would allow her to apply both of her majors

“Carnegie Mellon University’s data analytics track helps students who want to apply data analytic skills to social problems, fitting my desires perfectly,” she said. “I am eager to create change in our criminal justice system, and I am hoping this opportunity will place me in the necessary position to begin my public policy career.”

Murray, who is also a Stamps Scholar and in the Mercer Honors program, was selected for this year’s institute as a result of a highly competitive, nationwide application process. Dr. Robert Allen, professor and chair of Mercer’s computer science department, provided a letter of recommendation for Murray’s PPIA application and said she has repeatedly demonstrated outstanding organizational and leadership skills.

“She was the youngest Mercer undergraduate I have ever selected to participate in our Mercer On Mission summer program,” he said. “We traveled to the impoverished black township of Khayelitsha, just outside of Cape Town, South Africa, and taught young learners computer coding skills. Throughout our mission, Alana consistently demonstrated leadership qualities and brilliantly prepared and delivered technical lessons to the young learners in the township. It is easy to see her passion for changing the world.” 

After graduation, Murray said she plans to work as a social data analyst and apply her computer science skills to make efficient policy within criminal justice.