Our second PPA Featured Student of the Week is Courtney Powers – a junior PPA major, concentrating in Science, Technology, and Society. To help guide future PPA students, Courtney Powers agreed to discuss her journey finding an internship and her future academic plans.
For the fall of her senior year, Courtney knew that she wanted to find an internship that combined her interests in children's health and in public policy. She began by simply searching online for organizations and internships in the broader Los Angeles area. One of the organizations that caught her attention was the Children's Defense Fund. The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a national child advocacy and research group whose mission is to advocate on behalf of all children, especially those from low-income backgrounds. Though the organization is headquartered in Washington DC, they have regional offices all across the country.
After reading about the CDF's work, Courtney was very interested in getting involved with their organization. She was particularly impressed by their dedication to “leveling the playing field for all children.” For example, the CDF was extremely influential in enacting the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and continues to work towards their goal of providing “affordable, comprehensive, accessible health coverage for all children.” Though the CDF has worked with interns in the past, they do not have an established program in place. Thus, Courtney decided to e-mail the executive director with a resume and cover letter. In her letter, Courtney demonstrated her interest in the CDF's mission and in working with them next fall. Coincidentally, the director of LA's CDF office is a Pomona alum. Courtney received a positive response almost immediately and set up an interview with the director. Not too long after this interview Courtney was offered an internship position for the fall.
Courtney is looking forward to beginning her internship in a few months. She plans to start in August so that she can devote her full attention to the CDF for a few weeks before school starts. The people she has met at the CDF are very welcoming and excited to begin working with her. Within the CDF, Courtney will be working on a pilot program geared towards automatically enrolling children in health insurance when they register for school. The children that will be automatically enrolled in health insurance are children attending low-income Title 1 schools in the LA area. Their family income is higher than the Medicaid cutoff, but not high enough to afford private health insurance. Courtney will be helping the CDF with research related to this program and be helping implement it as well.
After what is sure to be a great internship experience in the fall, Courtney hopes to combine her interests in Children's Health, the CDF, and in public policy into an interdisciplinary senior thesis. After graduation, Courtney is planning on attending medical school and pursuing a Masters in Public Health.
And this just in: Courtney was recently selected as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship! Courtney is one of the 191 finalists selected from all across the nation for this prestigious fellowship. The Truman Scholarship selects students for their “leadership potential and their commitment to public service” and gives students $30,000 to use towards their graduate education.