The Social Policy program offers so much more than an incredible academic experience; through the fellowship and the Social Policy network, students have access to internships and networking opportunities that build a strong foundation for their post-graduation careers. Read about some of the incredible opportunities our 2015 policy fellows had during their fellowship.
Olga Baranoff– Washington Center for Equitable Growth
“The chance to intern in DC at a small but growing academically-oriented think tank has given me invaluable insight on how such organizations develop and what it takes to make them run. While the research work I’ve been doing is highly relevant to my academic interests, the experience of getting to know the organization and the people in it is equally important for my professional development.”
Rachel Demma- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
“My internship experience at NOAA Fisheries has been phenomenal. I have taken a lead role in coordinating two subcommittees for the upcoming Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) conference, carried out policy research on past recovery action plans, and written an employee training course as NOAA fisheries transitions into cooperative management. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to shadow and interview the heads of various departments within NOAA; most notably I shadowed Lois Schiffer, who serves as the chief legal officer for all NOAA activities and as a policy advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Through this internship I have learned a tremendous about the role of government agencies in the policy process as well as the roles of individuals within the organization, both through hands-on experience and shadow opportunities. More importantly, I came out of this internship with a better idea of what I want to do after graduation, and with the networks to get me there.”
Anka Ehlert– MarylandCAN
“My internship with MarylandCAN was perfect for someone interest in education policy. I worked directly with Executive Director, Jason Botel. As an intern, I got to firsthand experience the importance of networking and connecting by accompanying Mr. Botel on many meetings with people from successful business people all over the state of Maryland to amazing educators down the block in Baltimore. I also got the opportunity to help with the passage of the new charter bill in Annapolis: I sat in on meetings with legislators and lobbyists in Annapolis, through emails and phone calls I helped to create panel boards of community members throughout the state to appear before both the House hearing and the Senate hearing, and I got to attend the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee meeting and witnessed firsthand how bills were proposed, discussed, and passed/vetoed. This experience opened my eyes to the world of politics and policy. I feel extremely fortunate to have interned for MarylandCAN and now plan to go into education policy as a long term goal!”
Sarah Jabour- Child and Adolescent Health Measure Initiative
“My internship at CAHMI was an overall good experience. I enjoyed the people I got to work with—they were all kind and supportive. I enjoyed having my own “project” to work on that contributed to the larger vision/framework for change to address adverse childhood experiences (my research/literature review will contribute to a report CAHMI is writing for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). Dr. Bethell, the director of CAHMI, even offered to hire me at the end of my internship! Overall, I learned a lot about the connections between public health research, advocacy, and policy change. I also learned about systems and institutions that advocate for policy changes and the role of collaboration among many stakeholders from my conversations and interactions at CAHMI.”
Juliana Vigorito– Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership
“My internship at Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership was a terrific experience, and I hope they’ll be generous enough to host another intern next spring…As a Baltimore Social Policy Fellow with interests in housing, healthcare, and poverty alleviation, I was fortunate to intern with Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership (BRHP). BRHP is an agency that administers specialized housing vouchers for Baltimore City residents, giving families the opportunity to move from mostly impoverished neighborhoods to the more prosperous suburbs surrounding the city. During my time as the policy and research intern to BRHP I learned the mechanics of the voucher program, which boasts robust and individualized counseling, and had the opportunity to conduct research supporting the work of the policy staff and executive director. I also contributed to community resource guides that are distributed to voucher recipients in order to make them aware of programs and activities in their new neighborhoods. Working with BRHP, where some of the counselors are former voucher recipients themselves, was an inspiring experience that offered me remarkable insight into the challenges and tremendous potential of urban housing policy.”
Kevin Wells– Baltimore City, Housing Commissioner for Code Enforcement
“I’m continuing with my internship with Tamas and HABC through the summer. Over the course of the internship, we cleaned up the data we already had (it was incredibly messy and needed a lot of fixing up) and started creating queries to look at the impact of neighboring vacant houses on vacancy rates. Through meetings with Michael Braverman I learned a little bit more about how city government works, the challenges they face and looking at problems with some sense of political expediency firsthand. I can now effectively use SQL Server, which is very handy and a good skill to have learned. All in all, I think this experience was incredibly valuable for me and continuing work with them has been rewarding so far.”
Juliana Wittman– Maryland ACLU Fair Housing Group
My internship at the ACLU of Maryland this semester has truly enriched and enhanced what I have learned in my social policy courses. Specifically, it was wonderful having “on-the-ground” knowledge of mobility programs in Baltimore whenever we discussed housing or neighborhood related issues during class. My primary achievement during my time with the ACLU was transferring their “New Mover Survey” to an online format that will allow my co-workers to more easily and quickly extract meaningful data from the responses. I loved my experience at the ACLU and would absolutely recommend that another Fellow intern there next year
Olivia Long- Poverty and Inequality Research Lab
My internship with PIRL was a great addition to the material we were learning in the classroom. I was able to connect with some of the graduate students in PIRL and gain great experience through them. I am also working with PIRL this summer through the BRSI (Baltimore Research Summer Internship) which has been amazing!! We’ve been in the field interviewing families all over Baltimore for the Thompson Research. WOW!! These stories are life changing. I am hearing so many stories relating to what we learned this semester about the importance of neighborhoods, housing and schools. Life is not easy for most of these families and where these people are living has a lot to do with their access to opportunity.
Joel Pally- THREAD
Overall, I had an excellent experience interning with the Thread this past semester. I was in charge of implementing and interpreting a variety of new surveys; the goals of which were to understand the efficacy of the organization’s new student programming and provide more detailed and useful information on it’s incoming students for the volunteers of new volunteer/student groups (families). To achieve this end I coordinated with a variety of staff within Thread as well as in Baltimore Public Schools. I had to incorporate numerous points of view into an implementation plan of how to construct, administer and collect these surveys, which I presented to the Thread Team. I was given the opportunity to perform an in depth statistical analysis of our initial survey results using both Excel and Matlab. My supervisor, Brian Nelson, provided excellent guidance and feedback on my project throughout the semester. We met regularly to evaluate project progress and brainstorm ideas on how to tackle problems as they came up. I felt well integrated into Thread’s professional culture. My ideas and recommendations were well received and I felt valued as an important member of their team. Thread offered me a valuable first hand experience on how non-profits work with city bureaucracies to bring out positive change within communities. I would highly recommend Thread as internship opportunity to future Baltimore Policy Fellows.