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Student Life

PPLC at Harvard changes one USF student

USF sophomore Richard (Kyle) Castello came back from the 11th annual Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) at Harvard University a changed man in more ways than one.

Formally a communications major, Castello decided to major in interdisciplinary social sciences upon returning from the conference.

“I wanted to get a more liberal arts education and get a bigger picture of how things work,” Castello said.

Castello said he thought the conference was very enlightening.

“The conference showed me how studying public policy can make you an asset to many levels of government,” he said.

After attending a law program at FSU last summer, Castello decided he wanted to major in communication to better those skills. However, it was the PPLC that led him to thinking about his current pursuit of interdisciplinary social sciences.

Castello was one of 40 students selected for the conference held February 17-20 at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

According to the Kennedy School’s website, “The conference will encourage students who possess a commitment to public service to prepare for graduate study in public policy and international affairs, as well as to provide information on financial support through various fellowship programs.”

The conference is for first and second year undergraduate students with aspirations in the fields of federal, state or local government and work in the nonprofit sector or in international agencies.

Castello was chosen for this all-expenses-paid trip after applying for the conference. Students interested in next year’s conference can apply online at

Though no longer majoring in communications, Castello still plans on taking courses in the field and remains very interested in it.

Castello’s plans for the future are still unknown.

“After I graduate, I would like to work for a little before I enter graduate school,” he said. “Maybe community organizing, maybe the Peace Corp., maybe Fulbright scholarship or maybe even a Mitchel Scholarship.”


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