CIPA Fellow named a regional winner of the 2020 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition

Group Photo of the Winner of the 2020 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition

The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) and the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy have announced the winners of the 2020 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition—the largest-ever student simulation competition in higher education. Katherine Long, representing Cornell University, won first place at the University of Albany competition site.  Long is a Cornell Institute for Public Affairs Master of Public Administration candidate concentrating in environmental policy.

This year, around 400 students from 114 universities in 46 countries took part in the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition. Participants competed at 7 global host sites including National Law School of India University in Bangalore, India, Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Participants in the competition will take on leadership roles in a simulated city and be challenged to implement policies that achieve the most sustainable public transit system. Developed by the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) at the Batten School, the simulation was built using real-world data and with the help of academic experts and practitioners in the field of transportation and sustainable policy.

“Simulation-based learning is an incredibly valuable tool, offering some of the most exciting, intense, and impactful learning on the planet for public affairs education,” said NASPAA Executive Director Laurel McFarland. “In the classroom, our graduate students have been trained to be problem solvers, team players, and analysts— these simulations enhance students’ abilities to tackle complex policy problems they may face in the real world. They'll be ready to take the insights from their sustainable cities simulation experience into whatever kind of public service career they embark upon.”

64 participating teams were evaluated on simulation scores, teamwork, organization, policy decision making, and policy presentations.  Seven winning teams are moving on to the global round in which a panel of prominent judges will identify the global winner.

“We built Metropolitan: A Sustainable Transit Simulation to bring sustainable city planning to life by providing participants a sense of the comprehensive thinking that this issue requires,” said CLSG Director Noah Myung. “Our students are passionate about sustainable policymaking and want opportunities to apply their knowledge. Metropolitan gives them that chance, challenging participants to think critically about the costs and benefits as well as primary and secondary effects of investments that can help build a more sustainable society.”

In the coming months, the CLSG will develop a classroom version of the simulation which will be available free of charge for the next three years. NASPAA will distribute the free classroom version to its 300 member schools.


The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration or NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its over 300 members - located across the U.S. and in 24 countries around the globe - award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees. NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.

About the CLSG:

The University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy prepares students for public life by allowing them to test real-world solutions in a virtual environment. The CLSG designs, develops, and implements cutting edge simulations and experiments to advance education in leadership and public policy; conducts rigorous leadership and public policy research using simulations and experiments; and creates a community of scholarship where faculty, researchers and students are supported in their scholarly efforts related to the methodology of simulations and experiments.