Rhode Island Deputy Treasurer Kelly Rogers visited the Watson Institute of Public Affairs Wednesday afternoon to talk to students about her experiences in politics after her time at Brown.
The talk was the second in the Rhode Island Politics and Policy Series, which was launched this past semester by the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy to introduce students to the individuals working at the center of policy decisions in state and local governments. Over lunch, Rogers discussed her role in General Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s ’06 office and the trajectory that led her from the University’s master’s in public policy program to where she is today. Initially, she worked as Magaziner’s policy director before realizing she could do more and taking on the role of deputy treasurer.
With an undergraduate degree in environment and energy, Rogers always anticipated that she would end up working in environmental policy on the Hill or back home in Pennsylvania. She never expected to end up in the world of Rhode Island public finance. But now, “I can’t see myself ever leaving,” she said.
In Magaziner’s office, Rogers feels she has made a greater impact than she would have on the Hill. From her first day on the job, Rogers has been part of major policy decisions related to the RI Infrastructure Bank. She also helped to create a debt management reform package after the 38 Studios Bond Deal.
Moving forward, Rogers sees herself pursuing an MBA to study investment and the private sector to complement her public-sector work.
Students in attendance were excited about Rogers’ talk. Public policy concentrator Yasmin Toney ’19, who is interning with Rhode Island judge Frank DiCaprio, was interested to learn more about local politics. Erin Wurtemberger GS added that, as a current MPA student, she is interested in “state governments and how they work as individual agencies” and thought Rogers’ talk presented a good opportunity to learn more about these agencies within Rhode Island.
As the lunch wrapped up, Rogers offered students advice on finding their path. “If you know you want to be in political change or social change, it can be hard to know what role you want to have. The way I thought about that? Think about when you are in the room with a board or a political setting. Who do you want to be in that room?”
Clarification: A previous version this article stated that Rogers has been part of major policy decisions related to the 38 Studios Bond Deal. In fact, Rogers helped to create a debt management reform package after the deal. The Herald regrets the error.