Florida State’s Masters Applied American Politics and Policy (MAAPP) graduate program Tuesday celebrated 10 years of bringing students closer to the political arena.
Local politicians, including Florida A&M alum Al Lawson, praised MAAPP for its uniquely-practical approach to political science. Elected officials and lobbyists are among the speakers and professors who have guided this one-year, limited-access program through its first decade.
“Guys like me had to pick up bits and pieces of information along the way,” said Lawson, a former state senator. Lawson graduated from FAMU in 1970 and then from FSU in 1974.
MAAPP’s predecessor was a program FSU launched in the 1970s with two classes – practical politics and campaigning. In the 90s, officials expanded the program’s offering to delve further into campaigning, lobbying, media and other aspects of the political process. More than 200 students have graduated since MAAPP was developed.
Beth Matuga, a MAAPP graduate-turned-professor in the program, said students should be “proud to be in the political profession,” despite the occasionally-negative public sentiment. “Working in politics is a proud thing to do. politics need bright, dedicated people,” she said.
Kristin Mcdonald, a graduating student in MAAPP, also lauded the program and its teachers’ professional experiences. A lobbyist teaches her lobbying class. Her media teacher owns a PR firm. She said the program has posited her for a job in the current economy.