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Noelle Gipson

June 23, 2014

This story appeared originally in the Inside IU Bloomington e-newlsetter, June 19, 2014.


Noelle Gipson entered IU in 2011 with so many interests, she wasn’t sure how to choose a major.

Then, during her freshman year, the Elkhart, Ind., native was walking by the Herman B Wells Library when a cluster of signs near the School of Public and Environmental Affairs caught her attention: “Briefing the press starts here.” “Good starts here.” “Government reform starts here.”

Gipson, who will begin her senior year in the fall, was inspired to check out the SPEA website, where she found the perfect major: public and nonprofit management.

Her choice has already led to two study abroad experiences and an international service experience in Jamaica. Last summer, she studied nation building at King’s College in England; currently, she’s in Sydney interning with “GetUp! Action for Australia,” an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organization that aims to give citizens a political voice.

As an intern there, she is conducting research for various campaigns, including legislation related to coal mining, preservation of the Great Barrier Reef and refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

Read about her Australian research experiences (and more) on her blog at

“I heard a quote by President McRobbie of how he would like students to come to IU with a passport,” Gipson says. “Although I didn’t come to IU with a passport, I am leaving with a passport with more than one stamp of a foreign nation, thanks to my experiences through SPEA.”

Gipson says she’s had plenty of positive experiences here in Bloomington as well.

During her freshman year, she lived in Foster International Living Learning Center with students from all over the world, an experience that showed her how diverse IU could be and sparked her interest in becoming a global citizen. She’s found community by attending Bethel AME church and giving tours of the city’s historic homes.

“I’ve done some great work in the Office of Admissions and the Office of Scholarships, where I am able to speak to many students from all backgrounds and tell them why IU may be for them. I love seeing potential students who I’ve spoken to on campus tours as current students throughout the year,” Gipson says. “I’ve also had some amazing professors; two of my all-time favorites are Professor (Phil) Summers, whose class I loved even though I am not too fond of psychology, and Professor (John) Karaggac, who teaches national and international policy. Professor Karaggac showed me how interesting policy could be and to not be single-minded on issues.”

What’s next on Gipson’s plate?

“I am beyond excited for senior year,” she says. “I plan to do some great work with SPEA and Assistant Dean (Doug) Goldstein as we continue to promote two of our newest programs — an education policy minor and law and public policy major — and as the new chief of diversity and multicultural affairs for the IU Student Association, where myself and the entire staff have great ideas and plans for the school year. I’ll also be exploring the idea of graduate school and spending a lot of time studying for the GRE.”

Gipson hopes to work in public relations for a government agency, where she hopes to develop a program which enables employees to give back to the community. Then — using the global perspective she gained studying at IU and SPEA — she’d like to see that program used in many government agencies across the nation and, eventually, the world.