Student and Alumni Spotlights

Awn Rizvi, MPP

Equity in Action: A Public Policy Journey

Awn Hasan Rizvi

Master of Public Policy, Class of 2024

East Windsor, NJ
Concentration: Environmental Justice 
Activities at Rutgers: Outreach Coordinator, Rutgers Women’s Leadership Coalition; Founding Member, Bloustein Palestine Solidarity; Mentor, Bloustein Buddies Program 

Awn chose to attend the Bloustein School because he understood that meaningful change could only happen with better public policy. 

Growing up, my identity as a Pakistani Muslim living in the United States was something I was made aware of at a very early age, through my practices and experiences at home and with the world around me,” he said.  

A proud New Jerseyan, Awn was born in Trenton and has lived in central Jersey his whole life. Numerous generations of his extended family have attended Rutgers—uncles, cousins, his twin brother, and more recently a niece. He credits their consistent unconditional love, support, and encouragement for propelling him to where he is today. 

His identity as a gay Muslim has also had a profound impact on his outlook in life, especially his desire to advocate and work to improve the lives of those in marginalized communities. “With its connections and close relationship with  New Jersey’s state government, my decision to attend Rutgers’ Bloustein School was a no-brainer.” 

Currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree with a concentration in Environmental Justice, he hopes to work as a policy advisor or policy analyst for an elected official or government department, specifically with environmental policy through an equity lens. 

Awn has been serving as an intern and Policy Fellow with the Office of Equity in New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s office for almost a year. He has had the opportunity to assist Governor Murphy’s administration in advancing energy, environment, and infrastructure policy. “It was a remarkable experience to drive equitable change and give back to the state that I’ve forever had the pleasure of calling home,” he said. 

For students who are not sure about their future plans, he encourages them to explore the many different concentrations that are offered at part of the Bloustein School’s policy program. “If you don’t see an area you are interested in reflected in the school’s concentrations, you can work with faculty to develop your own! Regardless of where your interest areas lie, Bloustein is sure to have the necessary classes to pursue your passion in public service.” 

 “One of the best classes I’ve had the opportunity to attend in my academic experience was Impacted Folks Leading Policy Change, led by Professor Adriana Abizadeh. It provided a deeper understanding of the history of marginalized groups being at the forefront of some of the most significant and impactful policy movements. I encourage all students with capacity in their schedule to enroll in it,” he concluded.