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Students Share their Experiences with the Graduate Policy Scholars Program

The Graduate Policy Scholars program provides students from all fields of study with impactful opportunities and training outside of their curriculum. Offered by the Clark-Fox Policy Institute in partnership with the Social Policy Institute, the yearlong program inspires students to pursue their unique interests. Nearly 120 students have completed the GPS program through its first three years including 41 students from the most recent year 2019-2020.

During the program, students receive guidance and mentorship as they develop their skills and networks around advocacy, analysis, and/or organizing. To learn more about the Graduate Policy Scholars program, click here.

In a time where so much is unknown, one thing is definite: these students will make a difference in the world. Below, nine scholars share how they plan on using what they’ve learned from the program to advance equity.

Emmanuel Owusu Amoako
(Brown School – MSW)

“I plan to use my skills and knowledge gained to design policies and programs aimed at ending gender-based poverty in Ghana and West Africa.”

Aura Aguilar
(Brown School – MSW)

“With my policy skills and experience I hope to collaborate creatively, organize, and build solidarity among Black and Brown communities for immigrant and economic justice.”

Romario Smith
(Brown School – MSW/MPH)

“Focusing on the intersection of health and economic outcomes, I aspire to contribute to change efforts that recognize equitable access to universal healthcare and quality education as a fundamental human right.”

Trish Sorenson
(Brown School – MSW)

“I want to work in criminal justice policy while looking at how we can implement better policies to address high-rates of juvenile delinquency and generational recidivism.”

Kristina Ericson
(Brown School – MSW)

“I hope to use my policy education to strengthen welfare connections, and civic engagement opportunities, for people with disabilities in underserved populations – such as rural Americans, migrant communities, and incarcerated individuals.”

Tamsen Reed
(Brown School – MSW/MPH)

“In order to be a meaningful contributor to climate adaptation, I need not only the academic and evidence-based practice skills that I’ve developed while at the Brown School, but strong understanding of how to bring multiple stakeholders with competing goals together to solve complex problems.”

Stacey Bayer
(Brown School – MSW)

“With my policy skills and experience, I hope to contribute to changes in mental health policy by improving the accuracy of diagnostics and eliminating barriers to accessing mental healthcare.”

Cristian Vargas
(Brown School – MPH)

“Understanding policy practice is crucial to influence the social determinants of health within a particular spatial and historical context, especially in relation to the unique history and context of St. Louis.”

Vera Liu
(Brown School – MSP)

“I hope to continue my research on child welfare policies and make my contribution to child protection in China and around the world.”