For David Gray, public service is an investment of time and energy to “improve the quality of life of an individual or set of individuals who do not have the ability and/or the opportunities to improve their lot on their own.” David has been working towards that goal in his current position at the Louisiana Budget Project as a State Policy Fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he leads a statewide anti-predatory lending coalition.
A native of New Orleans, LA, David was part of the 2009 UC Berkeley Junior Summer Institute cohort and he went on to receive his Master of Public Policy degree from the Goldman School of Public Policy in 2012.
The most significant take-away from that experience for him were the bonds he formed with fellow JSI students, which have lasted through the years and helped him while he attended graduate school, and have continued to do so since his graduation. David still relies on the network he found through PPIA for advice and support, and underscores the importance of his Junior JSI experience, which exposed him to a large number of “inspirational public servants” who he says, “render high-quality service for their constituents and consumers.”
David completed undergraduate studies at Tulane University with degrees in Sociology, Social Policy and Practice, and Urban Studies. His academic and professional background afforded him much experience in a range of topics such as public policy analysis, community development and non-profit management. But he is convinced that he would not be as successful today without a graduate degree.
“Graduate school improved my ability to critically analyze social problems and proposed public policies. It taught me how to apply each courses’ underlying principles and theories to practical problems that impact real people,” he adds. In the long run, David plans to use the tools he acquired through school and work to build more sustainable communities for people of color and low-income communities.”