"The skills I’ve gained in this program have included memo writing, statistical analysis, and data visualization, which have given me an appreciation for multifaceted critical thinking. Having the tools to interpret data in a variety of ways has made me more conscious of problem-solving in a policy-based context."
Interests: Immigration policy, social policy
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Consultancy: Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, Houston, Texas
I am pursuing my MPA at Brown to learn the ins and outs of policymaking from a political and data perspective. I feel that developing these skills best fits my passion to be a voice for immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking a better life. My experiences with legal advocacy organizations, including Human Rights First and Project on Predatory Student Lending, showed me that beyond helping individuals, I need to work to reform the regulations that may harm immigrants. Realizing this made it clear to me that a career in policy was the next step in my path. The MPA at Brown was the ideal location to start my journey — the program offers all the core competencies that other public policy schools focus on and sets a timeline that is manageable with the transition I want to make between legal advocacy and policy-based work.
The skills I’ve gained in this program have included memo writing, statistical analysis, and data visualization, which have given me an appreciation for multifaceted critical thinking. Having the tools to interpret data in a variety of ways has made me more conscious of problem-solving in a policy-based context, where there are always different factors at play. These skills have made me confident that I can make strong recommendations to clients and other policymakers I may work with in the future.
I’ve also enjoyed my Geographic Informations System (GIS) class with Jim Lucht. GIS is a mapping framework that creates a variety of maps through stylistic and data inputs. It was my first time gaining a data-based skill where I could employ powerful visuals for policy problems at all levels of government. My final project in the class examined the relationship between food access and public transportation in Boston. I was able to create data points of grocers and supermarkets in Boston and overlay those data points with rapid transit lines. I also accessed census data to visualize where lack of public transportation and vulnerable populations intersect. The end product resulted in an important analysis of how public infrastructure plays into food access in Boston. This class ultimately gave me another tool that will help me highlight the significance of issues faced by underrepresented communities.
I’ve enjoyed the community I’ve built despite current circumstances [the pandemic]. Everyone I’ve met in the program has really embodied Brown’s idea of collaboration. Even though the program is just one year, the relationships I’ve made with my classmates and students in other Brown Graduate School programs will span far into my career and personal life.
What are you hoping to do with your MPA?
I want to spend my time after the MPA program working at consulting organizations that advise government agencies, then make the transition to the public sector, focusing on immigrant rights. My goal is to continue to develop the key skills necessary to provide clear and concise policy recommendations to immigrant advocacy organizations creating change in the policy world. I hope to be involved in efforts to expand safety net programs for immigrants, such as emergency assistance and legal aid.
HILSC is a consortium of legal and social advocacy organizations focused on improving migrant life in Houston and Harris County. I will be working with LaTausha Rogers MPA ’21 on identifying key strengths and weaknesses of HILSC’s Humanitarian Action Plan, which is focused on developing resources for immigrant-specific disaster relief. LaTausha and I will be working to confirm that the plan is meeting its goals of informing local organizations of available resources that will benefit immigrants in disaster scenarios and ensuring that all available safety net programs include vulnerable immigrant populations. Our work will culminate in a final report that will help push forward policies to support immigrants within the Houston/Harris County area.