Riley Sandel has come a long way from that first day on IUPUI’s campus in 2018. Having earned an undergraduate degree in architecture, Sandel began designing and building a new future by earning a master’s degree through O’Neill IUPUI.
Sandel has used an O’Neill education to help communities better understand their own needs and potential by staying connected and listening to the people who live in those areas.
“You should be a member of the community first, and an expert second,” Sandel says. “If you don’t put citizenry and relationship-building first, you can easily produce poor policy or outcomes.”
That commitment to community-engaged policymaking earned Sandel a spot among IUPUI’s Elite 50 graduate students for 2020. It was a fitting end to a stellar master’s degree journey.
What was your reaction to being selected for an Elite 50 award?
“It was certainly a shock! I was nudged into applying by a faculty member at O’Neill and was happy to put my name in the hat among graduate students at IUPUI. Of course, with more than 8,000 graduate and professional students affiliated with our institution, it is very humbling to be recognized as a part of the 2020 cohort for the Elite 50 award. It is also great to be part of a group awarded this recognition for academics and extra-curricular commitments to community involvement, campus involvement, and scholarly work.”