Rockefeller’s Ryan DeNardo Named Global All-Star in 2021 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition 

Ryan DeNardo
Ryan DeNardo

Winning the regional section of the 2021 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, Rockefeller College MPA student Ryan DeNardo advanced to the Global All-Star Round and finished as the third-runner up in the international competition.

The competition—a partnership between the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and NASPAA—annually connects public policy students from a vast network of universities worldwide through simulated gameplay. Developed by experts at the Batten School’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) and backed by real-world data, the simulation places students in leadership roles within a time-sensitive, fast-paced environment where they must work together to minimize the impact of a deadly infectious disease. 

“Simulation-based learning is incredibly valuable, as it applies theory to practice, and goes beyond conventional modes of learning,” said NASPAA Simulation Education Director Supriya Golas. “Through these simulations, students can take what they’ve learned in the classrooms and apply it to simulated real-world experiences. We hope these tools will prepare students for the next major global event, whether it’s a pandemic or climate crisis.” 

Over 400 students from 120 universities in 30 countries took part in the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition this year, participating digitally at one of the four virtual competitions. Ryan and his teammates, which included students from New York, Egypt, Germany, and Moscow, topped 19 other teams in the regional segment of the competition on February 27th. They were then one of four teams to advance to the Global All-Star Round on April 16th. 

“I would like to thank the Rockefeller staff for selecting me to compete in the competition. It was an honor to compete against the brightest public policy graduate students in the world, win the regional competition, and finish as a top team in the global competition,” said Ryan. “The simulation allowed me to apply the public policy, data analysis, and decision-making skills that I’ve honed throughout my time at Rockefeller.”

“Being on a team with students from four different countries was also a great learning experience,” Ryan added. “Each country has a different philosophy when it comes to making public policy decisions and it was interesting to see how we were all able to take bits and pieces of our perspectives and combine them into successful deliverables throughout both competitions.”

The judges were impressed by Ryan's team, and noted their "data-driven and pragmatic approach in navigating through the simulation and debate phase." 

Ryan's NASPAA Batten Team
Top: Maxim Zingman, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Amanda Copkov, Baruch College. Bottom: Ryan DeNardo University at Albany, SUNY; Sara Seif, The American University in Cairo