MPP students awarded the Ira Polley Memorial Scholarship

September 12, 2022

Two MSU Political Science Master of Public Policy students have been awarded Ira Polley Scholarships for their exceptional work both inside and outside the classroom, MPP officials announced this week.

MPP students Kala Sperbeck and Michael Breslin were selected after reviewing their academic performance in MPP courses and following recommendations from MPP faculty and director.

Kala graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science in 2018. She began her undergraduate career with an interest in biology, but quickly became passionate about the environmental sciences and renewable energy. After four years of studying the science of these issues, she developed an interest in their policy aspects. Since graduation, her passions have expanded to other areas of social justice policy, such as racial equity, women’s rights, and gun regulations. She began the MPP program in the fall of 2021. Upon completion, Kala hopes to find a position as a policy analyst where she can help implement effective policy to address the social issues facing the world today.

Michael is a second-year MPP student at Michigan State University. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from MSU. His primary policy interest is fiscal policy, especially corporate tax reform and state and local budget development. He is also interested in policy communications and PR. Michael is currently a graduate research assistant for MSU's Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC). He previously held positions at Martin Waymire, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, and MSU’s Writing Center. In his spare time, Michael enjoys cooking, reading, and a good map.


The scholarship awards are high honors for MPP students, established in the memory of MSU Political Science Professor Emeritus Dr. Ira Polley, whose 50-year career was dedicated to education and public service. Dr. Polley also served as State Controller, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Executive Director of the Council of State College Presidents and Secretary to the Constitutional Convention Planning Commission. Dr. Polley passed away in 2005.

MPP students have been selected for this high honor for more than a decade and a half. Students performing at the highest level receive the award and scholarship dollars.

Michael Breslin and Kala Sperbeck