Bloustein Undergraduates Take Top Honors at NYU Policy Case Competition

Hosted annually by the New York University Politics Society since 2014, the NYU Policy Case Competition is a conference where students of all experience levels are given the opportunity to propose policy solutions in response to the largest and most critical current issues.

Bloustein School undergraduates Lily Chang EJB ’22 (Public Health), Nina Paranjpe EJB ’22 (Public Health/History & Political Science) and NYU undergraduate Gabriella Kazianis (Liberal Studies) were assigned to compete as Domestic Team 10 and placed first overall in the competition with their policy memo, “The Child Tax Credit (expanded under the American Rescue Plan) should be extended with specific changes to increase the viability of its passage through the Senate.”

Teams were assigned a topic based on interests and included themes affecting New York City (affordable housing, business pandemic recovery, and violent crime); domestic issues (antitrust reform, childcare allowance, NSA domestic surveillance); international issues (Russia-Ukraine crisis, tax havens, foreign labor practices); technology (cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies and DeFi, nuclear power); or a spotlight on Turkey (currency crisis, gender-based violence, NATO alliance). Once assigned the topic theme, the team submits a written policy memo outlining their key issues and propositions, which is then judged by a committee. The leading team for each topic theme is then invited to submit a video presentation and executive summary outlining their assumptions and arguments. The videos are then judged and one team from each of the five topics is invited to give a final presentation.

“It was incredibly tough and involved many hours of hard work and practice, and I am so proud we pulled through each subsequent round. It was all incredibly new and exciting since none of us had been a part of a policy case competition before,” said Ms. Chang. “We went in knowing so little about our assigned topic but were able to successfully advocate for an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit.”

The team explained that they needed to work together to learn essentially everything about the Child Tax Credit– how it works, its implementation, its flaws, its impacts – in a matter of days. They then needed to put in many hours of research, writing, and collaboration to develop the memo and video presentation.

“I think fielding the questions from the judges during the final round was the most nerve-wracking and difficult task since we didn’t know what to expect,” said Ms. Chang. “Luckily, Nina was adept at answering any questions related to political feasibility, and I addressed some out-of-left-field questions, such as, “have you considered inflation?” pretty successfully by redirecting my answer to our proposed policy solutions. In the end, all our work and practice resulted in a win for us.”

“This was an amazing opportunity to hone in on my policy memo, presentation, and scientific communication skills, which I will take with me throughout the rest of my career,” said Ms. Chang, who recently completed a B.S. in public health with a minor in urban planning & design and was a member of the Bloustein Honors Research Program. Passionate about health and health policy, she was recently selected as a 2022 Running Start Congressional Fellow. She  would like to further her work in women’s health and maternal health policy and is also interested in health projects that intersect with the field of urban planning including those in the public realm, affordable housing, and sustainability.

Ms. Paranjpe was a member of the Rutgers University Honors College recently graduated with a  double-major in public health and history/political science, connecting her interest in health promotion with curiosity about the way American institutions function. She was a member of the Bloustein Public Service Association, an undergraduate student organization that provides opportunities related to professional development, career networking, and community service. Post-graduation, she hopes to develop a career advocating for quality health outcomes for vulnerable populations.