Alumnus Pursues Master of Public Policy Degree at Georgetown University

During a rare period of summer downtime, Ayush Manandhar, ’17, polished off Dr. Madeleine K. Albright’s 304-page Fascism: A Warning. The Georgetown University scholar says he doesn’t often find time for relaxation — pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree while also serving as a data impact intern with the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., is intense. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“’Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. … Don’t settle,’” Manandhar says, quoting Steve Jobs.

Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Manandhar double majored in transnational studies and political economy while at Westminster. He says the rigorous classes and focused attention at Westminster sharpened his focus and prepared him for challenges at Georgetown.

“The guidance faculty provide, which requires significant commitment, greatly influences how students chart their career path,” Manandhar explains. “Such commitment only comes from having such a close-knit community.”

Manandhar adds that he uses the knowledge he acquired at Westminster “every single day” in his public-policy career, and that the College also helped him develop a strong work ethic.

He reflects, “The Westminster community also allowed for an environment where I could come up with new ideas, try them and become entrepreneurial … all of this helped me further articulate my purpose in working within politics and public policy while leading me to where I am now.”

Read below to find out how Manandhar is further articulating his purpose as he looks forward to an exciting public-policy career after his anticipated graduation date from Georgetown in 2020.

Do you enjoy what you’re doing?
I’ve always been deeply passionate about politics and public policy, so studying and working in public policy in Washington, D.C, of all places, is most definitely enjoyable.

Can you tell a little bit about your internship with the World Resources Institute?
I started the internship last June. The World Resources Institute is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of government, economic opportunity and human well-being. They aspire to create a world where the actions of government, business and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people. Their goals as an organization are closely intertwined with my goals as a policy professional, which thus makes my relationship with them significant.

Which of your achievements are you most proud?
My greatest achievement has been the relationships I built with people at Westminster, many of whom I consider as family. These people greatly shaped my experience at the College and have played a significant role in who I am as a person and where I am today.

Who were your favorite Westminster faculty members?
This is a difficult one. My four years at Westminster gave me the opportunity to know many faculty members well. Some of my favorites include Dr. Jeremy Straughn, Dr. Kali Wright-Smith, Dr. Heidi LaVine, Dr. Carolyn Perry, Dr. Sam Goodfellow, Dr. Sonia Manzoor and Dr. Jane Kenny-Hunt, among others.

What was your favorite spot on campus?
This is an easy one! The Center for Faith and Service, or CFS. I would also say the CFS is the best spot on campus.

What book would you recommend to others?
I would recommend Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.