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First Graduate of Politics, Policy, and Law Scholars Program Opens Career in Politics

Clare Verbeten speaking at a microphone
Clare Verbeten, SPA/PPL ’15, performs at AU pageant conducted by the African Student Organization.

A passionate desire to bring positive change to the world led Minnesota native Clare Verbeten, SPA/PPL ’15, to choose a career in politics. As a teenager, she already knew that she wanted to be in Washington, DC to learn how the inner world of governance works.

“I wanted something that would help me stand out, something extra that I could put on my resume,” says Verbeten, who was the 2015 recipient of the Alice Lee and Lau King Quan Award, an SPA donor-funded bursary that goes to a young scholar displaying extraordinary dedication to public service. 

Verbeten is the first graduate of the Politics, Policy, and Law (PPL) Scholar Program at the School of Public Affairs, having completed three years of rigorous, multidisciplinary studies in the principles, practices, and institutions of American government and jurisprudence. She recently began serving as the Deputy Training and Party Affairs Director for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) and will be attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this July.

“The PPL Scholar Program was extremely appealing to me because it provided the kind of extra hands-on experience that most political science majors don’t get as undergrads. I knew that I would be taking extra classes and that I would have the benefits of the PPL internship program and would be able to go out and visit professionals in Washington.” 

Back home in Minnesota, Verbeten says she has discovered that local and state-level activists, organizers, and politicians are able to achieve real results that have a real impact, far from the frustrations and gridlock of Capitol Hill.

“One of my dreams is to run for public office at the local or state level,” says Verbeten, who is helping to prepare delegates and party officials for the DFL state convention. “I think that’s where you get the most done. Those are the laws that really affect people’s lives and that’s where you can get alot changed.”

“I’m incredibly excited and feel really lucky that I’m graduating during the presidential election year,” Verbeten continued. “It was a perfect time to start working for the party as I am gaining great experiences.”


“I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I didn’t go to AU. While I returned to Minnesota, I needed to go away and learn all the things I learned at AU. I’m very happy with my experience.”