MPP Alumni Spotlight: Rahul Jayaraman, '22

April 20, 2023
Rahul Jayaraman

Rahul earned his Master of Public Policy degree in May 2022 as an accelerated master’s student and was recently accepted into Harvard Law School.  Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, Rahul also earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and neuroscience & cognitive sciences at the University of Arizona in Summer 2021. In his free time, he enjoys swimming, reading, exploring new recipes to cook, and playing with his pup, Archie.

Currently, Rahul works at Just Communities Arizona (JCA), a Tucson-based nonprofit. Their mission is to expand public safety beyond the carceral mechanisms — police, prisons, etc. — that governments typically default to, while highlighting the hyper-local community efforts scattered through Tucson that are already demonstrating strong outcomes. Specifically, Rahul is a Policy and Research Manager, a role in which he primarily manages most of the research deliverables, such as written reports or quantitative analyses. In October 2022, Rahul was selected to co-present on a public policy research panel at the Urban Institute in DC, as a representative for JCA.

When asked why he chose the MPP program, Rahul responded: “A few reasons — 1) I wanted a more quantitative and applied degree to round out my time at UA after undergrad, one that would teach me specific and technical skills I could take into the workforce. In that, the MPP program was deeply worthwhile, as the lessons in reading budgets or using statistical software like Stata are still coming in handy. 2) Additionally, being able to read and interpret public policy is critical to the field I want to pursue. Having completed classes where policy analysis was the main task each day, I’m much more confident that I can engage with the methodologies of new policy research at a higher level. 3) I got to dive deeper into material I enjoyed in a more casual/freeform academic environment”

Additionally, Rahul was asked how the MPP program helped prepare him for law school.  He explained: “First, the MPP program gave me a head start on developing certain skills--critical reading, public speaking and oral advocacy, effective written reports, etc. Additionally, the MPP gave me access to specific law-based classes and professors at UA through its elective options that allowed me to dip my toes into a law school curriculum without nearly as much pressure. The professors I had for those classes were great educators and mentors, and I think the conversations I was able to have with them about the field and overall practice of law were invaluable. Primarily, however, the main benefit from the MPP program is that it taught me how to critically read and understand public policy, and those are skills I plan on carrying forward into law school. I view public policy as inextricably linked to the practice of law, the latter being a tool we use to achieve the former, and my area of interest--criminal justice reform--is no different. Understanding an issue like mass incarceration from both a legal perspective and a policy perspective makes me a better-informed advocate for my position. “

Congratulations Rahul! You will do great at Harvard Law!

Connect with Rahul at