Arguably the most distinctive feature of the UEP year at Brown University is the nine-month internship component of our program. Our academically rigorous coursework in research and theory is grounded in the day-to-day realities of practice in an urban education policy setting. Students select internships based on their personal career goals and academic interests, and so our cohort finishes their year with a variety of unique real-world experiences.
As their internships come to an end, four members of the current UEP cohort were kind enough to share their experiences with us. Their stories represent just a small sample of what a UEP internship has to offer – experiences local and far, with non-profits and school districts, in areas data-driven and policy-focused. Read their words below!
Juan Carlos Carranza, College Visions
My internship site this year through the UEP program has been with College Visions (CV), a non-profit organization in Providence that empowers low-income and first-generation college-bound students to realize the promise of higher education by providing advising and resources to promote college enrollment, persistence, and graduation. Specifically, I have been working as a data analyst within the College Success Program, which follows students through college from enrollment to graduation.
Last semester, I cleaned and compiled student data and used it to calculate enrollment, 1-to-2-year persistence, and graduation rates for each cohort of students. This information has been useful in reporting information to funders, community members, and the board of directors. This semester I have helped create a data dashboard that will provide advisers and program directors with real-time information on program performance.
Before UEP, I worked as a College Adviser with the College Advising Corps (CAC) at a high school in Providence. My work with the CAC helped provide me with a knowledge of the college access landscape in Rhode Island and nationally. My desire to continue working on issues surrounding college access and success led me to choose College Visions as my internship site. Through my work at CV, I’ve been able to get a deeper understanding of the challenges and supports that students face when trying to attain a college degree. I’ve been able to sit in on various meetings and engage with stakeholders throughout the state who are working in partnership to improve the opportunities for students in Providence. After UEP, I hope to continue working to ensure that all students in Rhode Island have equal access to post-secondary opportunities and support throughout their journey to college attainment.
Mateus Baptista, El Rancho Unified School District
I am working as a research consultant for the El Rancho Unified School District in Pico Rivera, California. I am researching the district’s college-going culture and to what extent it exists. I report directly to the Superintendent of Schools and have built relationships with various stakeholders from the Mayor, the board president, to families and students. I am drawn to this research because I am committed to increasing first-generation college attendance particularly at four-year universities. As the lead on this research project, I have enormous flexibility along with the necessary supports. This research project allows me to deeply explore an issue and determine the root cause of low college matriculation rates.
I have learned most importantly that I enjoy research and the autonomy it provides. This has helped me solidify a desire to pursue a PhD in the near future.
Reilly Pharo Carter, Leadership for Educational Equity
My internship this year was with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Teach For America corps members and alumni to grow as leaders in their communities and help build the movement for educational equity.
Through my work on their policy team, I focused on building members’ understanding and expertise relating to policy development and implementation. I work directly for the Senior Director of Policy Strategy and Support. Over the course of the year, my projects have ranged from the development of a new member toolkit aimed at building policy acumen for new members transitioning from the classroom to the policy world, to the support and planning of LEE’s annual Policy Leadership Academy, a three day, invitation-only conference for LEE’s most senior members.
I have deeply enjoyed my internship because it has provided me with opportunities to both expand my policy expertise, as well as expand the network of people I know in this field. My internship was virtual, so I was afforded a lot of flexibility and autonomy.
Sarah Halberstadt, Annenberg Institute for School Reform
Through my internship as a Research Assistant at the Annenberg Center for School Reform, I have had the opportunity to use what I am learning in my UEP classes to help support the work of parents, young people, teachers, and activists at the front lines of education organizing.
I came to UEP straight from the classroom and knew that I wanted an internship that allowed me to practice policy analysis and research skills, but also enabled me to stay engaged with the people who I believe are the real education policy experts: students, educators, families, and communities. I got that opportunity through my work on Annenberg’s Pittsburgh Parent Power project funded by the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh.
From day one, the small team of Annenberg staff leading this project has included me in meaningful work. I have helped to revise and create curriculum and materials, I have traveled with the team to Pittsburgh to help facilitate cohort gatherings, and I have had the chance to learn from and amplify the voices of over fifty incredible parent organizers.
The best part of my internship has been watching very smart people work together and involve others in their work. I have had the chance to see what it looks like to effectively combine research and organizing in a way that brings people into, rather than excludes them from, education policy conversations.