Kayla Conforti is a second year Master of Public and International Affairs student at GSPIA majoring in International Political Economy. Before GSPIA, she received her B.A. in Economics, French, and International Studies at Washington & Jefferson College and was an English Language Assistant in France through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF).

"I chose to pursue an MPIA so I could combine multiple interests of mine that carried on from undergrad in a meaningful way. I have been interested in the intersection of political science, economics, history, and culture, and I think it is important to be able to understand how the interact with one another in order to create meaningful policy that actually gets at the root of problems," Conforti said." 

Her research interests include gender and development and the impacts of international trade policy in the short and long term. This is her second year in the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) working group. She is working to pursue a career in trade policy research and analysis after graduation.

When looking for a graduate program, Conforti was looking for one that would allow for her to develop knowledge and expertise in the field, skills that are both tangible and intangible. She found that at GSPIA. 

"GSPIA was a way to also learn through practical applications of what was being taught in class. The internship component of the program is just one example. I interned with U.S. Commercial Service Pittsburgh, which gave me the opportunity to go beyond trade theory and see how international trade policy can impact companies, even here in Western Pennsylvania. This experience has really helped to give me a better idea of what kind of career path I would like to follow after GSPIA," Conforti said.