Making Change Through Policy
My experience with the Community Policy Institute (CPI) has been educational and inspiring. When I first entered CPI, I was unaware of what path I wanted to go down and where my talents really lay. However, after being in this fellowship for four semesters, I have gained an immense amount of skills, from writing to public speaking, as well as a more centered focus of what career path I would like to go down. I have found a passion for indirect and direct service and am passionate about continuing to do policy research when I graduate.
The different components of CPI each allow a different skill set to be highlighted or tested and I am a better student because of it. For example, in our class sessions when we do public speaking, I am able to examine how well I am articulating myself. Before CPI I was always very nervous to speak in public, but now I can speak fluently and confidently thanks to the professional development skills that CPI has given me.
CPI has also allowed me to flourish professionally and get to know some of my peers better. Working in teams has allowed me to become close with my fellow CPI members as we develop a project together. This socializing and team building has been a wonderful part of being a CPI Fellow. The projects in particular are always great experiences. The first project I worked on was with the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless looking at the process in which homeless people retrieve identification cards in order to receive housing and jobs. Our team researched how difficult it was for homeless individuals to get back stolen or lost identification and how many were held back from stable housing because of it. This was eye-opening to me as I had never thought about the issue of identification for the homeless before this. All of the projects I have worked on have revealed a part of policy or a specific issue area to me that I had previously not considered or did not know about.
After being in CPI for two semesters I was selected to become a team leader. This position has been rewarding and has allowed me to grow even further. I have been able to manage a team, delegate tasks, organize meetings, and connect with outside resources. The project I first worked on as a team leader was with the Alliance for Quality Education. This community partner was thrilled with the work we had done, making me feel extremely proud of myself, and even more so, my team. That project again opened my eyes to inequalities in school programs that I had not realized prior to researching it. Through CPI I have discovered that I have a passion for working in issue areas surrounding hunger, education, health and criminal justice. Without CPI I would not be the student I am today and I would be much less prepared for my future. I hope that I can continue down the path of working in public policy and making a difference in my community.
Community Policy Institute (CPI) Fellow