Blog Meet The MPP Community Student

Meet Hannah Cornell, Current MPP Student

Program and area of focus: MPP, Community and International Development

Full time/part time: Part-time student

Where are you from: Altoona, PA

Where do you live: Chalfont, PA

Where did you earn your bachelors and what did you study?

I studied at Houghton College in Houghton, NY, where I earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies

 What did you enjoy most about this experience?

 I loved, and am so thankful for, my experience at Houghton College. Above all other things, I enjoyed the incredible relationships that I formed with people during this time which truly changed my life. I also enjoyed having my perspective on life and global issues challenged, and ultimately grown, through the different viewpoints and experiences I had while I attended the school.

 What made you decide to attend the MPP program at Del Val?

It is evident that Del Val is a school which is committed to serving the community and equipping its students for doing this work with integrity and compassion. The MPP Program emphasizes the importance of social justice and equity and aims to educate students in ways which will prepare them for this work across different disciplines. It was also evident after meeting other students and professors that people in the program respect one other and are passionate about putting into practice what is learned in the classroom. It is for these reasons that I felt like Del Val was a great fit for me.

Has your career path inspired you to pursue further education? Or are you currently working in your desired field?

I previously worked as a Case Manager for children with behavioral and mental health needs, and it was through this opportunity that I became more aware of just how many systems designed to assist marginalized populations are broken in ways which inhibit those who most need these systems’ benefits from being able to access them. These experiences, and many others, further ignited a passion within me to not only find creative ways to successfully operate within flawed systems, but to also seek out ways to enact higher level change to better serve those in need. I really wanted to better understand these complex and intricate issues and learn how to assess and analyze different responses to these problems. This desire led me to pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy.

 What do you plan to do after Del Val and/or what would be your ideal job?

 I am thankful to be working in my desired field. I currently work in the non-profit sector as a Project Manager for a Sex Trafficking Response Team at Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center in Montgomery County. In this position, I’m able to collaborate with multidisciplinary partners to develop an improved response to survivors of sex trafficking in Montgomery County and across Pennsylvania. I would like to continue working in the non-profit sector after I graduate from Del Val and continue to work in partnership with others to develop creative ways to address important societal issues.

 Best part of graduate school so far:

The best part of graduate school so far has been being able to apply what I am learning in class to my work each day. As an undergrad, I was not working in my desired field, so it wasn’t until after I graduated school that I was able to apply what I learned to the work I was doing in the job force. It is exciting to be able to constantly apply what you’re learning each day in new ways.

What are some of your hobbies/what do you like to do for fun outside of school?

 Outside of school, I like to spend time with friends, family, and my two dogs. I love to hike, read, and travel around looking for good coffee.

What is your favorite vegetable to eat and/or grow?

I’d have to say my favorite vegetable to eat is a sweet potato! I unfortunately struggle to keep my succulents alive, so growing actual vegetables is out of the question!

Welcome to Policy Matters. In our journal, you will find articles from professionals, faculty and students concerning an array of policy issues. We believe that all policy, local or national, matters and deserves a conversation. For more information, or to submit an article for publication, please email us at

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