UCDC Fall 2022: Following in the Footsteps of Public Service Leaders

November 10, 2022

Fireflies are replaced by falling leaves in every color of the rainbow. The warm air that wrapped you like a blanket every time you stepped outside, now takes leave for a refreshing cold crispness that wakes you up and gets you ready for the day. This fall I have the privilege to return to the city I have called home since early summer when I started interning here. Working in this city is something different. You are filling one set of busy shoes out of countless others hitting the pavement every hour of every day. A people driven by the promise of change and progress. I try to live up to the shoes of these good people in my work with Brent Orell, a poverty studies senior fellow and head of workforce development at the American Enterprise Institute. We have done a lot of work looking at reentry and recidivism, immigration reform, social capital and well-being in the workplace, the interaction between labor forces and automation and AI, and much more.

Some of my favorite work has been doing research and editing for our podcast. We have guests from a diversity of backgrounds discussing topics of relevance to our work, and my favorite so far has been Nick Eberstadt. He looked a lot at the massive contributions immigrants and married individuals have on our country, and the exploitation of underprivileged communities by certain policy approaches. I have had the privilege to read his book, among the dozens I have been given free of charge by my work, and attend events where he and other leaders of their respective fields share enlightening and emerging topics. My favorite events have been those that function in coordination with Brookings and the Kennedy School at Harvard University. These events have brought together true international movers and shakers in one room to refine their greatest concerns and insights in a presentation followed by discussion. Sitting in the room with the people I work with, and those who have shaped the world, has done much for my ability to see the direction this world will go, and the ever-important role of cooperation and constructive thought. With these insights, I experience yet another benefit of the UCDC program, the privilege to meet with other people my age working across DC who are experiencing transformations in their own right.

We are growing together, and getting to know who we are as people, as well as what we mean to one another through our explorations and travels across this great city and the region surrounding it. I see people who are already different from the day they arrived. They have wider eyes that see the world as more complex and in need of innovative approaches to obstacles. The best part has been talking to people and engaging in conversations that expand our mutual understanding of the world. The aqueduct is a great place to do this. I look forward to seeing what DC has in store for me.