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Georgia Southern public administration students place first in simulation competition

Last week, Georgia Southern University Master of Public Administration (MPA) students Gina Pate, Austin Hinkley and Colin Karnes placed first in the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)-Batten Global Student Simulation Competition at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

The Georgia Southern/UNC-Chapel Hill NASPAA Batten Global Student Simulation Competition team.

“We are thrilled to be the Regional Winners,”  Pate said. “Our team took a different approach than the other teams because we focused on humanitarian values and regional cooperation to guide our policy decisions.”

The simulation involved the growing global migration crisis and was structured to resemble a real-world scenario. During the competition, each team was assigned a simulated world and country. Individual team members were assigned a cabinet position in their governments, which controlled specific policy options that affected the migration crisis for each nation. In these roles, teams made specific policy decisions that had direct impacts on the number of migrants in the country, the rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth, migrant employment rate, citizen favorability and the country’s human rights index.

“Our team gave resources to other countries in need, and focused on providing high-level services to refugees, subsidiary protected migrants and humanitarian protected migrants in our country,” Karnes said.

The team, who was joined by two students from the University of North Carolina (UNC-Chapel Hill), also focused on human rights and ethical treatment of refugees as a key component to their strategy during the competition. Human rights were an essential portion of the simulation and weighed heavily for the judges. The team worked together to formulate policy to ensure that human rights were guaranteed and promoted throughout the region, while also focusing on the services in their own country.

The team’s data and presentation will now be sent for judging in the global NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation championship rounds against the regional winners from around the world.

This year’s competition involved 585 graduate students from 157 universities competing at 11 global sites. After several rounds of competition and an oral policy brief, the Georgia Southern/UNC-Chapel Hill team placed first out of 12 teams in the regional competition, beating out teams from Georgetown University, the University of Virginia, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, the University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, George Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh and Regent University.

Pate, a fourth semester MPA candidate, plans to graduate this semester and pursue a career in local government management, while Karnes and Hinkley are third semester MPA candidates who plan to graduate in fall 2019. They are both interested in pursuing doctoral degrees in public policy after graduation.

NASPAA is the global standard in public service education. It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public and nonprofit management. NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields, including Georgia Southern’s MPA program. For more information visit the Department of Public and Nonprofit Studies at

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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