Cal State L.A. graduate student Alex Harwood was a member of a student team that took first place in the west region simulation competition for the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).
In the day-long competition, held recently at USC, students were given a health care problem to solve. They worked in teams with students from other schools of public administration, affairs and policy in the region to develop proposals to address the problem. The students used innovative simulation models to test different solutions and strategies.
A panel of judges observed the teams in action. Students presented their solutions and were judged on critical thinking skills, collaborative abilities and creativity.
Harwood’s winning team included Kharaam Sharifpour of USC, Benjamin Batorsky of RAND and Johanna Jamison of the University of Colorado.
The group was given the task of designing a package of seven health care policy and finance options for residents of a fictional community. The package had to reduce costs for residents, improve the health of the community, improve the content and quality of care and meet other criteria.
"The competition turned out to be a really wonderful and fun experience," said Harwood, who is working on a master’s degree in public administration. The event gave him the opportunity to meet students from across the region, interact with an innovative simulation model and dive into a topic out of his comfort zone.
Two other Cal State L.A. students--Catherine Hood and Paulina Vilchis—participated in the competition, which featured nine teams. NASPAA is the accrediting agency for schools of public policy, affairs and administration.
Photo: From left to right, team members Kharaam Sharifpour of USC, Benjamin Batorsky of RAND, Johanna Jamison of the University of Colorado and Alex Harwood of Cal State L.A. (Photo courtesy of Ellen Shiau)