GAPPS-ICMA 2023-2024: President Brighten Critchfield

The Graduate Association of Public Policy (GAPPS-ICMA) – International City/County Management Association (ICMA) is the primary organization for the UConn School of Public Policy (SPP). Its goal is to serve as a social and intellectual forum for students pursuing a degree or certificate in the School. GAPPS-ICMA is committed to public service, professional development, and having fun. Throughout the academic year GAPPS-ICMA hosts a number of events that enrich students’ social and academic experiences.

GAPPS is an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) student organization.

Brighten CritchfieldA photo of GAPPS-ICMA President Brighten Critchfield is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) with a focus on social policy. She notes, “I’d ideally like to work at the macro-level improving policies and programs that have broad impacts on the socioeconomic well-being of our communities.” Alongside her MPA, Brighten is also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management.

During the 2022-2023 academic year she served as a Teaching Assistant for PP 1001: Introduction to Public Policy. For her second year in the MPA she will be completing an Internship and Professional Practice (IPP) placement with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unit at the State of Connecticut Department of Labor. In this role Brighten will be tracking the performance and participation of federal and state workforce programs.

With SPP her favorite memory so far has been mock interview night, she says, “…it was fun to prepare with other students and gain some valuable interviewing experience while receiving feedback from alumni.” In the classroom, “Applied Policy Research: Justice Reinvestment” has had the greatest impact. Last semester Brighten collaborated on a semester-long research project with seven other students where they examined and developed case studies. This course Brighten explains, “…provided a really in-depth look at the ways that, on an operational level, states have a unique opportunity to reform pre-trial and post-trial outcomes and incarceration rates more broadly.” Her team focused on the effectiveness of the State Sentencing Commission and the Racial Profiling Project (CTRP3), the later of which is part of the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP).

For incoming Huskies, Brighten had this to share, “I would give some practical advice like staying ahead of your work and asking for help, but most importantly just enjoy it. The small cohort of this program provides a lot of opportunities to expose yourself to new people, from new places, with new ideas, and that is super valuable.” This year we look forward to sharing moments of enjoyment with Brighten and the rest of our SPP Huskies!