Angelina Li ’17
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My Story

Na “Angelina” Li spent the first 11 years of her professional life working at Radio Beijing Corp. (RBC) as a news anchor, reporter, editor, and director. However, having not yet satisfied her career ambitions, she sought new adventures and challenges — she decided to pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Northeastern University.

Since her graduation in 2017, Angelina has been applying her video production and policy analysis skills at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the foremost U.S. think tank concerned with the links between social equity, economic progress, and land policy.

This is Angelina’s Northeastern story…

My Path
Photo Credit: Eric Winter/Northeastern University
Why Public Administration?

As a reporter, Angelina was constantly covering current events. But the fast-paced newsroom did not allow her the opportunity to explore with great depth the causes contributing to the dramatic changes she was seeing around the world.

“The news has to be fast — what happened today? As a journalist, I only had enough time to report on daily symptoms, but I wanted to explore the factors that were causing change in our society. I wanted to help craft new policy.”

She says the two-year MPA program gave her the necessary time and skills to examine and assess urban and regional problems toward enacting change and finding solutions.

Transformative Coursework

According to Angelina, “PPUA 7673: Capstone in Public Policy and Urban Affairswas particularly transformative because it allowed her to apply her newly acquired skills toward real-world problems facing a real client.

Collaborating with a team of four students, Angelina worked closely with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP) to investigate federal grant oversight and city-based administrative practices. The project led to Angelina’s graduate internship at LILP.


The capstone team, from left: Angelina Li, Tony Brust, Yearam Kang, and Benjamin Irwin. Courtesy photo

“I feel that I benefited from every course in the MPA program, but one course clearly stood out: Capstone. We developed a survey to ask questions of CFOs in local municipalities to understand how they utilize federal grants and why some grants have unspent balances. We devised a results-driven analysis that helped the Lincoln Institute begin to understand the scope of the unspent federal grants challenge in the United States.”

Angelina Li with Research Fellow Andrew Reschovsky at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Courtesy photo
Experiential Learning

After completing her capstone project, Angelina was offered a three-month graduate internship with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in fall 2017, where she led the production of a 15-minute video commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy in Beijing.

In this capacity, she flew to Phoenix to interview LILP’s Board Chair Kathryn Jo Lincoln and to Washington, D.C., to interview former LILP President George Ingram, who had established the Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center in 2007 and nurtured its early years. In addition, she traveled to Beijing to interview several of China’s leaders in budget affairs, international economic exchange, and the Ministry of Land and Resources.

After the success of her internship, Angelina continued to collaborate with the Lincoln Institute on a new project to develop its online education offerings.

“The Lincoln Institute recognizes the importance of providing accessible learning materials and tools as a fundamental component of its mission. I leveraged my video production skills and knowledge of policy issues to help the Institute enhance its online courses, covering topics such as planning principles, land use, and taxation.”

Civic Engagement

Angelina, who is originally from China, volunteers as an actress and assistant director at the North American Maple Culture Center, a Boston nonprofit organization that produces plays for Chinese-American audiences about life in America for Chinese immigrants.

While at Northeastern, she often volunteered as a Mandarin teacher in Chinese language schools, and continues to assistant the Boston Housing Authority as a translator of housing policies for Chinese immigrants seeking affordable public housing.

Photo Credit: Eric Winter/Northeastern University

“I am passionate about cultural exchange, and I feel a personal responsibility toward helping Chinese nationals assimilate into American society while simultaneously celebrating and sharing their Chinese identity. I hope that through these activities the children of Chinese-Americans can improve their understanding of their parents’ origin and culture.”

Angelina accepts her award from former SPPUA Director Matthias Ruth. Photo Credit: Jennifer Mocarski/Northeastern University

Angelina received two awards from the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (SPPUA):

  • The Barry Bluestone “Think and Do” Award, given to the capstone project that embodies the School’s ideal of timely, evidence-based, policy-focused research that addresses an important problem for a client with intent of positive social change;
  • The School Spirit Award, which recognizes a student who with their academic achievements, outstanding service to the university and larger community, and commitment to putting research into practice, embodies the SPPUA spirit.
This was Angelina's Northeastern Pathway... Where will yours lead?

Learn more at:

School of Public Policy and Urban AffairsNortheastern University

Photo Credit: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University