My summer at the Center for Education Reform has come to an end, yet I am still pondering over all that I have learned about myself. This internship has taught me a lot of administrative skills, personal professionalism, and has affirmed that I really want to pursue a career in law after I graduate. My time in Washington DC this summer was amazing and living in another city for the summer, far away from my home state of Minnesota, was an experience that will prepare me for life after college.
My biggest learning moment occurred when I was working on a project to monitor website, Twitter, and Facebook traffic. I learned how to use Google Analytics, and I fell in love with all the cool different ways that Google tracks and maintains data. I loved collecting and analyzing data before this internship, and I knew that I wanted to go into law. However, after playing around with Google analytics, I decided that I would love to pursue a career in intellectual property law. I would be able to protect different technologies (such as Google) and different artworks, connecting my love for music, dance, data, and technology. I definitely would like to still work with education policy, but this internship helped me understand that the grassroots and more personal side of education reform is what I need to engage in.
Interning at CER taught me that I am better suited for grassroots education reform, rather than a top-down process. Yes, it was interesting going through contact lists and looking at all the names of top investors, CEO’s, and multi-millionaires, however I had a hard time trying to connect their work with supporting communities of color, and lower-income families who depend on charter schools for a better education. I enjoyed attending numerous meetings and events on Capitol Hill, learning more about how policy influences each state differently. I spent a lot of time doing my own research, collecting my own numbers in Excel spreadsheets and seeing what policies are in place to support these families and students. I realized that although I want to pursue a law career, I can still continue to do my own research and feel better knowing that my work will help reform for all.
Written by Jessica Stephens, BC Class of 2017