We had the good fortune of connecting with Maanas Sharma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maanas, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
For sure, it has to be our team.
COVID has been difficult for everyone, and starting the Journal of Interdisciplinary Public Policy during the pandemic was really daunting. But, everybody on our team has been really driven since day one — they have helped foster a really strong culture at JIPP and ensure that everybody is learning together, even if we are separated by 12-hour time zone differences.
This tenacity has enabled us to exceed all my expectations. JIPP has published 5 complete publications to date, garnering tens of thousands of views and earning us a spot on the UN Major Group for Children and Youth. Team members have contributed really strong writing on policy issues as well as lead whole publications and partnerships by themselves — something me and the Journal are both really grateful for.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The Journal of Interdisciplinary Public Policy (JIPP) (www.ipp-journal.org) is a youth-led online, open-access journal with the dual mission of highlighting diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives in policy discussions. Too often, public policy discussions only consider the needs of the few people who have voices in the industry. But, to create equitable policy, we need to give everybody a seat at the table; JIPP allows youth from different backgrounds to argue for policy changes that are influenced by their unique perspectives.
The crux of JIPP is our quarterly journal, which is always accepting submissions at www.ipp-journal.org/submit. Since each issue focuses specifically on one topic, reading the journal provides a well-curated understanding about an issue and how to craft policy solutions from many perspectives. Moreover, to have a constant discussion, we run a blog on our website where we publish opinions regularly.
Though it hasn’t been an easy path – especially with a team of young academics trying to make it during COVID, the experience has taught everyone on the team a valuable lesson of hard work, and it has paid off. Our dedication to quality work has garnered us tens of thousands of views, recognition in magazines such as VoyageDallas, and grown our team to more than 15 people.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d have to say Klyde Warren. It’s inspiring to see good urban planning in action, and I’d love to brag about Dallas’ Klyde Warren park as much as I can.
There, we’d take a stroll, eat and drink at the wonderful food carts, and probably end up at the DMA (Dallas Museum of Art) to check out their amazing collection.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me along this journey. When I announced I wanted to do debate in high school (a STEM magnet!), they were understandably surprised, but never missed a beat in supporting me. They drove me to Saturday debate tournaments and even helped me attend summer debate institutes. In this way, they helped me build my voice and courage. And, when the time came to start JIPP, they are the ones who helped me create the website for the journal, no questions asked.