PPIA Program

“Diversity & Leadership in Public Service”

Meet Junior Summer Institute Alumni

Learn what it’s like to be a Junior Summer Institute Fellow from alumni. The deadline for this year’s upcoming Junior Summer Institute is November 1st, 2016. 

Each year, PPIA seeks out high-potential undergraduate students from universities across the country to participate in an intensive seven-week Junior Summer Institute before their senior year. During their program, fellows are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in graduate school and ultimately, in influential roles serving the public good.

The 2017 Junior Summer Institute host institutions:

 

 

dsc_0650-1Sade Ayinde

Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I sought out PPIA because the program’s explicit intention to create more inclusive spaces and positions in the field of public policy and international affairs. As I did more research and  spoke with former PPIA fellows, I found my personal and career goals clearly aligned with the programs’ interests. Additionally, I desired an experience that would prepare me for graduate school and beyond.

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment during the JSI experience was when we had a mid-summer BBQ picnic with the Woodrow Wilson faculty and students. It was a time to let our guard down, to take a break from exams and studying, and enjoy each other’s company. We ended up having a soul train line and the electric slide and other great tunes! We even got Gilbert (Director of Graduate Student Life) to get up and dance!

 How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

Since completing my JSI experience, I have continued to advocate and work with underrepresented students. Additionally, now equipped with the skill set, I hope to use my JSI experience to empower others and contribute to a more equitable and just society. I’m currently looking for PhD and masters programs that will help to me to achieve that goal.

sergio-rodriguez-camarena-princeton-2015

Sergio Rodriguez Camarena

Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, JSI 2015

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I was motivated to apply to the Junior Summer Institute fellowship program because I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about ways in which I can serve my community through policy crafting and education. To me, the fellowship seemed like the perfect platform to learn more about post-college opportunities and graduate school admissions and financial aid. I also could not pass the opportunity to experience intimate graduate-level courses and meet an entirely new network of future community leaders.

What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment during my JSI experience was the final presentation for the International Relations workshop. My team worked on crafting policies that would eradicate the illicit drug market in Colombia through EU-US cooperation. When we all shared our policies to diplomats, ambassadors, and other international aid workers in Latin America, we were given helpful feedback in ensuring the sustainability of our policies and also, given praise for policies that were very well-thought out and put together. Being able to work with such a passionate group of people was rewarding.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

In the future, I am hoping to use the quantitative skills I gained from my statistics and economics class to formulate better and more-convincing arguments. By learning the language used in public policy, I can continue to advocate for my community while also having the ability to navigate the ins and outs of policy making.

melissa-candell-princeton-jsi-2016

Melissa Candell

Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I applied to PPIA because I was interested in immersing myself in a diverse community that shared my same ambition to create equitable policies that benefit underrepresented populations. Additionally, I was intrigued by the structure of the program and the challenging graduate-level courses that it offered. Though what motivated me most was the fact that two of PPIA’s host institutions welcomed undocumented students, and after hearing that completing the program made graduate school possible for an undocumented alumna, I decided to pursue the application hoping that this could make graduate studies more attainable for myself as well.

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was deciding to take a spontaneous day-trip to Washington Heights in NYC with two other fellows. I remember that although we were stressed out with homework, we decided it was absolutely pivotal to allocate some time for self-care. Needless to say, this trip helped us develop a stronger bond that we continue to cultivate up until this day.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

Being a JSI fellow made me realize that more undocumented students throughout the nation need to be aware of the great experience and benefits that come with completing this program; thus, I have been actively encouraging students to not fear applying because of their immigration status. Furthermore, JSI equipped me with valuable quantitative skills that I plan to use in the workforce to continue advocating for policies that are inclusive of immigrants and people of color. I have also started researching MPP and MPA programs and plan to apply in the near future.

Stephanie Choistephanie-choi-michigan-jsi

University of Michigan, Ford School of Public Policy, JSI 2016 

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I was inspired by the mission of the PPIA program, and excited that it aligned with my interest in public service. I had in interest in public policy because of the environmental advocacy and programming work I was a part of, and got a taste of environmental policy while interning at the Forest Service after my sophomore year. So, doing PPIA after my junior year seemed like it would be the perfect timing and fit. And…it definitely was!

What was your most memorable moment?

My Michigan cohort took a few trips together, and I would say I made the most memories during those car rides and days spent together. Overall though, I love remembering moments when we were just laughing in class with our professors or making inside jokes. It’s always sweet to think back to those times!

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I am so grateful for my JSI experience because I know it will really help me in my first year of graduate school in a MPP or MPA program. The policy classes broadened and deepened my perspective on a lot of social issues, and the perspectives I gained through conversing and writing really influence how I interact with and think about the world now. I know, now, that in the future I may not want to focus so intensely on environmental policy, but rather think generally about how climate change and environmental justice is a part of/embedded into every other policy area.

katie-garay-minKatie Garay

University of Michigan, Ford School of Public Policy, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

If having the opportunity to study policy for an entire summer with fellow policy wasn’t enough, I definitely couldn’t pass up the alumni network, graduate school application benefits, and the sense of camaraderie among JSI Fellows. This was something I knew I would enjoy because I enjoy policy, and there’s nothing better than doing something you love with other people who are equally passionate.

What was your most memorable moment?
The most memorable part of my JSI experience was definitely my team winning the policy recommendation contest at the Chicago Fed branch in Detroit. We took a field trip, and we all had the opportunity to look at different pieces of data and come up with a recommendation regarding interest rates. My team won, and it was an awesome feeling to know that I had gone from having a very limited knowledge of monetary policy to having a clear idea of what the Fed does, and the effect that their policies can have. We suggested an increase in interest rates and while our recommendation was only a simulation, Janet Yellen was (later) quoted as saying that the case for an increase in interest rates had “strengthened in recent months” which definitely validated what my group had recommended.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I gained a new support system. I network of people who are happy when good things happen to me and who share their good news with me as well. I know that I have made lifelong friendships, aside from the how valuable this is, I also had the opportunity to improve my quantitative skills, which will be invaluable in the workplace. I’ve also had the opportunity to be exposed to graduate programs and different opportunities available to me. I know that I will use my experience for years to come.

baltazar-hernandezBaltazar Hernandez

Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I was motivated to apply to the JSI fellowship program by a friend who is a PPIA alumnus. I heard nothing but positive things about the enriching and challenging summer experience. As a student of Public Policy who is passionate about problems affecting our country, I knew I had to apply!


What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment is from our weekend trip to Washington, DC. My International Relations workshop class accompanied Ambassador Gadsden to the State Department where we discussed pressing issues like Brexit and the conflict in Syria. Furthermore, we attended the 35th Anniversary reception and got to hear from civil rights leader Benjamin Jealous.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I have been spreading the word about the JSI program. I want to use my JSI experience toward encouraging others to pursue careers in public service. After a summer of statistical analysis in Alice’s Intro to Statistics course, I landed a fellowship as a Data Analyst for my county government. My JSI fellowship provided me with invaluable training and quantitative skills that I’ll carry forward as I make my foray into a policy-making career.

Janice Leimg_2119

UC Berkeley – Goldman School of Public Policy, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I was motivated to apply because I have a strong commitment to racial equity, justice, and serving underserved communities of color.

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was the long lasting friendships that I made that will carry me throughout my academic, personal, and professional career, In addition to all of the late night conversations, study jams, and nights out with the fellows.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I never saw myself doing public policy, I was scared of statistics and economics because I come from a social science background and did a lot of community organizing work. However, PPIA has allowed me to feel confident in tackling these subjects and made the pursuit towards a Public Policy Graduate School program possible as a first generation and low income college student. Coming out, I am more confident about my future endeavors and I thank PPIA Berkeley for that.

 

ccde-photoBenedicto Llave

UC Berkeley – Goldman School of Public Policy, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I applied to the program to learn about what public policy was. The PPIA program gave me hands-on experience to what a public policy graduate program could feel like through not only the classes, but more importantly the sense of community from my PPIA cohort at Berkeley. Now, I feel like I can belong in an MPP program and find support once I’m there.

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was the professional development trip, to Sacramento and San Francisco! It was great not only to attend panels, connect with PPIA alums and experience potential job opportunities, but also to bond with my cohort friends on the bus rides!

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I am applying my policy writing skills from my JSI experience in my internship through the Department of Education! Through PPIA, I had opportunities to write policy memos and work in teams, and I’m putting those skills to practice now. In the future, I plan to use my JSI experience through utilizing the PPIA network to cultivate community wherever I go. I feel like I can find community wherever I go because the PPIA community is so extensive – it’s great to know there are supports for me wherever I take my life next.

itzel-vasquez-rodriguez

Itzel Vasquez-Rodriguez

Princeton University – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I was motivated to apply to JSI because I had heard about it from a close friend and mentor of mine. He had done a JSI the year before me and absolutely raved about it. I didn’t necessarily know what policy was at the time, or what a degree in policy is used for, and so I thought JSI would be a great place for me to explore public policy.

 

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment of JSI was probably going on a4th of July trip to Philadelphia. It was a gloomy and rainy day (definitely not what people have in mind for4th of July), but being there with my cohort made all the difference. The other JSI students are extremely passionate and committed to social justice and public service, but they’re also just incredible people to hang out with. I have made some lifelong friendships at JSI which is probably one of the biggest takeaways of this program.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

I plan to use my JSI experience to remind myself that I can perform graduate level coursework and that I can excel in that environment. I’ll use this experience to think about what graduate school path I want to pursue and why. I also want to use my experience to encourage other students to apply to JSI- so that they too can have this unique opportunity!

Jonathan Yamasakijonathan-yamasaki

University of Michigan, Ford School of Public Policy, JSI 2016

What motivated you to apply to the Junior Summit Institute fellowship program?

I became motivated in applying for the Junior Summer Institute because they offered a rare opportunity to study at some of the top universities in the country. I always had an interest in policy but was not sure where to look, until I found the PPIA JSI program which sparked my interest in discovering the various policy topics that the JSI covered.

What was your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment was having lunch and talking with the professors from University of Michigan about policy, class lecture, or personal interest. I had such meaningful discussions with my statistics and international policy professor where sometimes I would reflect on what I can do to become a leader in public service.

How do you plan to use your JSI experience in the future?

The quantitative analysis I learned from my courses at UofM will prove most useful when I work for the Department of Education in the future. I plan to take what I learned in analyzing policy and statistics to help implement educational policy for the United States. I will also use my JSI experience to prepare for graduate school and the application process.

Ready to start your application? Apply to be a 2017 Junior Summer Institute Fellow