Week 1 at the Urban Institute
Day 1 walking into the wide glass doors and spacious marble floor of the Urban Institute located at 500 L’Enfant Plaza in Washington D.C. was impressive. Urban Institute is a non-partisan organization founded by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as a response to the need for more equitable social science research to develop urban communities. In their “Next 50” campaign Urban Institute sets goals to attain more progress, more funding and more sustainable impacts on the surrounding communities by improving the policy making process with research. My internship concentration is promoting a more diverse research breadth by recruiting more diverse research associates and interns. The ability of the Urban Institute to retain and gain more diverse employees is crucial to developing policy that is more reflective of urban communities.
The other interns are from universities throughout the U.S. and relocated to the DC area for the summer. They work in centers such as labor, human capital and population, urban development and international development. The interns contribute skills in public policy, international relations, data science, economics and business. Throughout the Urban Institute there is a sense of pride in each intern class and junior hires. They are also proud of the research that the associates and senior staff produce in the long term and contribute to public policy as a whole. I am impressed with the academic and research backgrounds of all my colleagues.
This summer, I am joining UNC MPA alumna, Teresa Derrick-Mills (1992) as she contributes to Urban Institutes efforts to improve the diversity of staff composition, equity and inclusion in workforce culture, and diversity and equity-respectful content and language in the research. Teresa is a principal research associate at the Urban Institute who obtained her PhD in public policy and public administration at George Washington University after using her MPA to support early care and education systems-building efforts in North Carolina for 15 years. She now studies early care and education issues, workforce development systems, juvenile justice, and various human services, and supports research and evaluation capacity building for governments and nonprofits.
Each day is a fantastic opportunity to walk through the DC neighborhoods and see famous sites such as the Capitol Building, Jefferson Memorial and the Wharf District. It truly is remarkable location and place to be interning this summer.