Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

"Although I had learned about the policymaking process in my Public Policy classes, actually witnessing the process play out in the State House has been an incredible experience that I would not have been able to acquire from a textbook."

Student Spotlight: Erika Byun ‘17

Name: Erika Byun ‘17  

Concentration: Public Policy and Economics

Hometown: La Canada Flintridge, California

Erika is pursuing an internship at Governor Gina Raimondo's office through the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy's Governor Frank Licht ’38 Internship program.

What are kind of work are you doing in the Rhode Island Governor’s office?

At the Governor’s office, I mainly help the policy analysts with research in a broad array of salient policy areas that have ranged from renewable energy to juvenile justice. I have looked into how proposed programs in Rhode Island compare with similar efforts in other states in order to determine the potential effectiveness of the Rhode Island-specific program. In addition, I have worked on bill reviews and assisted with the formulation of the Governor’s strategies for priority initiatives.

Has this in any way changed how you approach your Brown degree?

Interning at the Governor’s office has shown me the importance of complementing academic studies with work experience outside of the classroom. Although I had learned about the policymaking process in my Public Policy classes, actually witnessing the process play out in the State House has been an incredible experience that I would not have been able to acquire from a textbook. Since Public Policy is such an applied study, I feel that my work at the Governor’s office throughout the semester will continue to strengthen and expand my understanding of the policymaking process on a state level. I think that it is important for students to explore work opportunities outside of our campus and take advantage of the fact that Brown has countless affiliations with key leaders and organizations in the Rhode Island community across all fields.