University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
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Fanta Conde

Major: Political Science, Philosophy
Minor: Security and Risk Analysis
Hometown: Staten Island, NY

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I received an email from my political science advisor, Mia Parise, detailing a public policy and international affairs summer fellowship.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was accepted into the University of Michigan's Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Here I participated in graduate level courses such as: statistics, microeconomics, domestic policy module, international policy module, monetary policy module, and policy writing workshops, as well as GRE preparation courses. We took trips to the Detroit Fed, spoke to leaders who were working on the Detroit waterfront initiative, and were visited by numerous organizations such as the Congressional Budget Office and Governmental Accountability Office. We were also visited by various public policy graduate schools such as Harvard University, University of Minnesota, Georgetown University, Syracuse University, Carnegie Mellon University, and others.

I met lifelong friends, colleagues, and brilliant professors who have made a profound impact on my life.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Through the PPIA experience, I was challenged immensely through the rigor of the academic courses, as well as the GRE prep. With a cohort of 17 other students, we were taught the value of learning from and educating one another to increase our open-mindedness and the benefit of challenging ourselves and taking full advantage of every single opportunity that was presented to us. Through the faculty panels, I learned the huge importance of maintaining contact and reaching out to members of the academic community. I started off in the statistics course with a phobia of mathematics and numbers and left feeling incredibly empowered to take on any problem that was presented before me. I am incredibly thankful for such an enriching experience through PPIA and thankful that Liberal Arts enrichment funding helped to make that experience happen.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

The PPIA experience highly illuminated a set of goals which I have set for my future self. I plan to work in the realm of public policy, especially as it pertains to the K-12 public educational system. I am currently applying to a series of fellowships which I hope will arm me with experience. If awarded with said fellowships, I plan to return to the work field and pursue a career with an organization such as the Governmental Accountability Office or a non-profit organization which promotes equity in our educational system. After gaining real world experience, I hope to channel that into my academics in graduate school where I will seek out a master's degree in public policy.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, of course! It was an irreplaceable experience and one of the best summers of my life! I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest and love for public policy. I met lifelong friends, colleagues, and brilliant professors who have made a profound impact on my life.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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