I have had the opportunity to work on a very wide variety of issues, both by choice and assigned. Below is an assortment of projects I have created, including graduation-requirement capstone projects, internship deliverables, contract work, and some large and small creative side projects with differing levels of polish. I’m happy to answer any and all questions, please simply email or tweet me @magna_sun. Thank you for visiting!
All content below is my own unless noted otherwise. Please attribute as needed.
MPP and BA capstone projects
For my Master of Public Policy capstone project, I decided to condense and streamline the basic tenets of sustainability planning in order to empower interested local policy makers with little prior knowledge to being tackling climate change. The spark for this project came from the absence of federal leadership on climate action and the confusing, unnecessarily complex, and sometimes contradictory literature that already existed on climate action and sustainability planning.
This project was presented at the annual capstone forum event where I created the poster below and spoke to interested state and local policy makers, politicians, family, and friends.
Through the Greens’ Lens
For my undergraduate interdisciplinary capstone project, I focused on the nascent German Pirate Party, fresh off a major electoral defeat in summer 2013. This political party was founded to address digital rights and privacy. I investigated how the party formed, some of its goals and failures, and future potential by comparing it to the previous successful rise of the German Green Party.
Community organizing, grant management, and public service
MI Voice Counts – 2020 Census Initiative
As one of 15 “Census Hub Administrators” in the MI Voice Counts campaign, I convened and led a working group of 25 nonprofit and local government entities toward our goal of increasing turnout in the 2020 Census by historically undercounted groups in Kalamazoo County. I also conducted a data-driven and equity-focused start-to-finish grant process by compiling community input and feedback into an RFP, setting grant criteria and priorities, organizing a grant review team, leading final decision-making, processing award letters, tracking dollars, training grantees, and developing post-program evaluations.
February 2019 – October 2020
Michigan Migrant Labor Force Changes
As an intern for the State of Michigan’s Office for New Americans (since restructured as the Office of Global Michigan), I was tasked with investigating the impact of the change in federal immigration enforcement priorities on the migrant farm labor pool. I interviewed farmers, academics, and legal experts, and compiled federal and state data to provide a short report with significant reference material to the director of the office for use in future policymaking.
June – August 2017
Blog and Content Writing
Paid writing for an internship with the state, graduate assistantship, and contracted work
As an intern for the Michigan Office for New Americans, I wrote their summer 2017 quarterly newsletter featuring interviews and policy reviews relevant to pro-immigrant organizations that partner with the state. If original post is removed, please see this archived mirror link.
Master of Public Policy Event Reporting
In addition to serving as a research and teaching assistant, I was the primary producer of web content and reporting for the Michigan State University Master of Public Policy Program. I provided coverage on our major events and highlighted student activities.
If the original post is removed, please see this archived mirror link.
Goethe Institute Film Review
Due to my film and music blog, Backyard Global, and my experience as a Fulbrighter, I was contracted to submit an educational film review to be part of a partnership between the Goethe Institute – Germany’s premier international cultural education institute – and Kanopy, a leading provider of educational film and entertainment streaming.
If the original post is removed, please see this archived mirror link.
Additional Policy Pieces
Impactful coursework for my Master of Public Policy
Letter to the City Manager – Morrow Lake Dam
Written as a member of the Kalamazoo Environmental Concerns Committee to the City of Kalamazoo City Manager, this letter is a two-page overview and request for support regarding the Morrow Lake Dam repair. The letter, containing community member testimony, local reporting, and state documentation, was approved by the committee and sent to the city manager.
City of Battle Creek Economic Outlook
A brief mock one-pager that required me to analyze the state of a city budget and “submit” it to the city manager. I chose my hometown of Battle Creek as a typical Midwestern town working to reinvent itself. This project improved my understanding of major public budgeting and its direct real-world impacts.
Harvard Case Study: Early Childhood Learning Policy Review
During an elective public management course, I was tasked with creating a one-page policy summary of a collaborative program to support low-income early childhood students based on a Harvard Business School case study exercise.
Creative and Side Projects
Unpaid creative writing and video work that I enjoyed doing; mostly archived works at the moment
German Fulbright Video Blog
I was very fortunate to have received an offer to be an English Teaching Assistant in Leipzig, Germany for the German Fulbright Program. While abroad, I made regular video blog posts intended to both share my experiences with friends and family and educate random viewers as well. I wrote a partner blog for the project but have since taken it down. Below is my most popular video where I clandestinely (read: was kicked out of a different location for openly shooting) shared what it’s like to be in a German grocery store.
I want to stress to potential applicants that it was actually my second attempt at applying and am happy to review the required essays and application material. I at least know what a bad application looks like. Please just email or tweet me @magan_sun!
August 2015 – June 2016
While serving as an English Teaching Assistant for the Fulbright Program in Germany, I became especially interested in empowering Americans of every economic strata to be able to explore the world from their hometowns using the internet. I created Backyard Global to highlight some of the best movies, music, video games, and occasional recipes using ingredients that can be found at an average supermarket. At its height, we had over 60 articles from 14 contributing writers with roughly 1,000 unique visitors per month.
I took a brief hiatus during graduate school and resumed in 2020.
March 2016 to Present
Video Game Reviews
I hesitate to highlight these as they feel a bit cringe-worthy in hindsight but I did want to share what small video editing experience I have. Prior to leaving for Germany, I took a stab at video game reviews and content on YouTube under the banner “Magna Sun Media”. I enjoyed the editing process more than anything, but felt that I didn’t have much to offer that wasn’t already out there. I ceased production once I began Backyard Global.
June 2015 – March 2016