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Heinz College in Washington, D.C.

The Heinz College in Washington DC program enables us to apply our unique approach to problem solving to issues both local and global, whether with partners in the Federal government, non-profits working for more equitable communities, or respected think tanks influencing how problems are framed.

Sarah Mendelson speaking at CMU energy week

Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy leads policy innovation at every level of government and civil society. To shape policy, you need to be where policy gets made. That is why we established a permanent presence in Washington, D.C.

Our D.C. program is led by Dr. Sarah Mendelson, former UN Ambassador, global human rights champion, and advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, including as a co-chair of the CMU Sustainability Initiative.

Heinz College is dedicated to solving urgent problems at the intersection of people, policy, and technology—the future of work and workers, criminal justice, how democracy functions, health care, cybersecurity, smart cities, sustainable development, and climate change to name a few. These are large-scale, complex public policy challenges that require thoughtful, creative, and innovative solutions.

We invest resources in action and engagement that has impact on people’s lives.  Through rigorous research, initiatives, and partnerships that channel talent and bold ideas to the public sector, as well as groundbreaking academic programs. Our top-ranked policy analysis programthe MSPPM-DC pathway—brings students to Washington, D.C. to not only launch their careers but develop the skills needed to be positive agents of change in public policy.

This page highlights the important work of our faculty, students, and alumni in the region.

More than a Policy School

Our impact in Washington, D.C. goes well beyond academics.

  • We partner with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the New America Foundation, the United Nations, the Open Government Partnership, Freedom House, the Aspen Institute, the United States Institute of Peace, the AFL-CIO, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities, and many others that keep us engaged with the most pressing policy conversations of our time.
  • Through the Heinz Policy Fellowship program, we place talented graduate students in federal agencies, think tanks, and influential non-profits. Our students perform work that draws on the skills they have learned at Heinz College which our partners know are well beyond the capabilities of the typical DC intern.
  • We host an annual Public Service Weekend through the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) program to engage a group of diverse future leaders in the public sector.
  • Through our Executive Education programs, we offer industry leaders insight and skills in technology management, digital transformation, and cybersecurity.
  • The CERT division of CMU’s Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded Center of cyber research and development, provides frontline cyber defense and training programs to combat 21st century threats.

Learn more Heinz College's Policy Impact

  • Nevada Representative Susie Lee at an event alongside Heinz College Dean Ramayya Krishnan
  • Daniel Nagin speaking at the US Institute of Peace
  • Former US CTO Megan Smith speaks to Heinz College DC students
  • Ambassador Sarah Mendelson speaking at a Brookings event
  • Former MD Governor Martin O'Malley speaks to Heinz College DC students
  • Senator Bob Casey speaking to Heinz College students

Leading the Conversation

Heinz College engages directly with the people who move policy forward and get things done in D.C.

Lessons in Leadership in Times of Crisis:
A Heinz College SPEAKER Series

Join Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson, Head of Heinz College in Washington, D.C. and Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy, as she discusses strategies for leadership during times of upheaval with leaders across the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors. (Recorded via Zoom.)

Anthony F. Pipa

Amb. Mendelson speaks with Anthony Pipa (Brookings Institution) about his experience on the ground in the early days after Hurricane Katrina. Pipa helped launch Foundation for Louisiana.

Susan Reichle

Amb. Mendelson discusses the 2010 Haiti earthquake with Susan Reichle (International Youth Foundation). Reichle helped lead the U.S. response as the acting head of the crisis bureau at USAID.

Wade Warren

Amb. Mendelson talks to Wade Warren (Deloitte Consulting) about his work during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Warren helped lead the U.S. and international response with the Global Health Bureau.

Amb. William Taylor

Amb. Mendelson speaks to Amb. William Taylor, most recently the chargé in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. He was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine as well as VP at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Recent events and Panels


Heinz College and the Atlantic Council led a conference on the problem of foreign interference in U.S. elections.

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Countering Mass Violence

Professor Daniel Nagin delivered policy recommendations and closing remarks for a congressional briefing on mass violence.

Sustainable Development Goals

Heinz College and the Brookings Institute on US Cities Leading on the Sustainable Development Goals

Workers & The Innovation Age

Professor Lee Branstetter contributes to a panel on Employers, Employees and the Evolution of Work at The Hill's Workers + The Innovation Age event.

Building Peaceful Societies

Amb. Sarah Mendelson and Prof. Dan Nagin led a conversation at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Building Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies and Advancing the SDGs.

Heinz College D.C. Academic Programs

Training Next Generation Leaders

Heinz College operates several academic programs in D.C., including the highest-ranked policy analysis program in the capital.

Carnegie Mellon University is licensed to offer educational programs in Washington, DC by the DC Higher Education Licensure Commission.