PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

What is it like to be a student at a Junior Summer Institute?

Posted on September 17th, 2014

Kiyadh Burt, 2014 Princeton Junior Summer Institute Fellow

Burt_Headshot_2014I had such a wonderful experience at Princeton University’s Junior Summer Institute (JSI) this past summer. The people, the campus, the squirrels in their varying shades, and the world famous ice cream were all simply incredible.  The most incredible part of the JSI experience though was the opportunity to grow and learn.  As a participant in the JSI program, I was able to cultivate professional skills, better understand the relationship between public policy, statistics, and economics, and interact with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.  The experiences I had at Princeton have definitely impacted my interests in public policy and public service.

Enhancing professional skills was one of my many accomplishments through participation in the program. Public speaking, critical thinking and analysis, effective communication, personal and group leadership, and policy memo writing were all skills I utilized and improved during the program.

Grasping a better understanding of the relationship between public policy, statistics, and economics was another benefit I received from the program. With the help of dedicated, caring instructors and tutors, I was able to see public policy from varying perspectives.  The instructors were practitioners in their respective fields and capable of communicating their expertise and wisdom of the material in a manner that we, the students, could understand and appreciate. The tutors provided supplementary support and help, even on Sundays, and often challenged us to see the concepts we were learning in a broader scope. I was able to see the importance of economics and statistics to public policy and how having sound understanding of all three can better my critical analysis and comprehension skills. Overall this program has allowed me to experience growth as a student and scholar.

The most important aspect of the program for me was the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Learning about different cultures, languages, and music was such a joy for me. The numerous conversations about race and gender, HogieFest and late-night WaWa runs, endless study sessions and problem sets, uncomfortable games of Cards Against Humanities, and pure, unapologetic scholarly discourse are experiences that have positively colored my memories of PPIA. I hope cohorts to come can have as much fun and discovery as I enjoyed this summer.