Winter Graduation: Public Policy PhD, CRA’s Keith Waters

By Mariam Aburdeineh

Keith Waters: Helping policymakers and local leaders make more informed decisions. Photo by Mariam Aburdeineh

When Michigan native Keith Waters decided to go for his PhD in public policy, he turned down schools that offered him scholarships and chose to attend the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

“I wanted to be near the action,” he said of Mason’s proximity to Washington, D.C.

Waters certainly made the most of his time here. He’s been a graduate research assistant with the Schar School’s Center for Regional Analysis and has been an active member of the Association of Public Policy PhD Students, a Mason student organization, since his first semester.

Waters was also instrumental in putting Mason’s graduate student research conference on the map. Under his leadership, the conference caught the attention of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) and has since grown into an international conference presented by APPAM with 10 regional universities. The last conference drew 168 attendees from 28 schools.

After graduating, Waters will continue working for the CRA while continuing his dissertation research as well as presenting at conferences. He plans to continue researching interactions among cities to improve regional economic impact analysis and forecasting.

“It helps policymakers and local leaders make more informed decisions,” he said.