Tag Archives: Bellwether interns

Celebrating National Intern Day

In celebration of National Intern Day on July 28, we asked Bellwarians to reflect on the valuable lessons they’ve learned through past (and present) internships. 

Gage Matthews, summer 2022 intern, Policy and Evaluation 

My Bellwether internship has been incredibly valuable for learning about career paths, interacting with diverse teams of skilled and influential professionals, expanding my personal network, and identifying and developing critical skills for my professional future. 

So far this summer, I’ve been able to work with various forms of data and interact with many stakeholders and organizations. I’ve also learned the value of working closely with internal and external stakeholders, while introducing rigorous methods into evaluations and analyses. The diversity of team members and expertise needed to fully support a range of clients and projects has informed how I consider the construction of teams and my role within them. As someone who has mostly been in the school and university setting for many years, working in a different organization with highly skilled teams has been a wonderful experience that will inform my professional path in the short and long term. 

Krista Kaput, senior analyst, Policy and Evaluation

The summer between my second and third year of teaching, I participated in a public policy and advocacy internship with Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). During my internship, I assisted with researching and writing MPS’ $14 million GEAR UP grant — which served 2,560 students in 17 of the district’s middle and high schools. The goal of the grant was to increase academic performance, graduation rates, and the percentage of students who enrolled in postsecondary education. I also worked on a project around Early Warning Indicators, researching national best practices and policies, and interviewing principals, counselors, and other stakeholders about school culture, goals, and intervention programs already in place. I synthesized the information and produced a report with recommendations for MPS on next steps for implementing a ninth-grade on-track indicator. 

This internship affirmed the importance of doing both qualitative and quantitative research in policymaking. It’s critical to not only look at data and best practices, but to also speak to on-the-ground experts doing the work and being directly impacted by policies. This lesson grounded me when I was doing statewide education advocacy in Minnesota and continues to guide the work I do at Bellwether today.

Priyanka Patel, analyst, Policy and Evaluation; former summer 2021 intern

I started my journey at Bellwether as a Policy and Evaluation intern the summer of 2021. Like many doctoral students, I always thought I’d pursue a career in academia. However, my many years as a student, while being generally very positive, also made clear to me the type of work that I found fulfilling. As I was researching potential employers, I recognized that there were many non-academic jobs that aligned with my interests. Some of these employers were offering summer internships and thought it might be a good way to test which type of professional environment would best suit my skills. Bellwether quickly stood out as a top choice — the work aligned so closely with my own interests. 

During my Bellwether internship, I spent 10 weeks working closely with Bellwether’s evaluation team. What really made my time as an intern meaningful was how Bellwether treats its interns like integral members of the team. Although interns are only hired for a fixed time period, we were fully integrated into the organization. We not only got to know the ins and outs of Bellwether, but were also given the opportunity to interact with clients and to make direct contributions on projects. I was able to get a firsthand look at what my day-to-day experience would be like working in research and evaluation in a non-academic setting. By the end of my internship, I was much more confident about pursuing a career outside of academia. The experience led me to apply for a full-time position with Bellwether and nearly one year later, I could not be happier!

Welcoming our Fall 2018 interns!

Bellwether’s Policy and Thought Leadership internship program provides skill- and knowledge-building opportunities to students and professionals developing their careers in education policy and program evaluation. Interns work on substantive projects matched to their skills and interests and are treated as core members of our team.

This fall, we’re happy to have Truc Vo and Armand Demirchyan joining us through the end of the year! Read their bios below, and stay tuned for blogging and research from these two.

Truc Voheadshot of Truc Vo

Background: Truc Vo is an intern with Bellwether Education Partners in the Policy and Thought Leadership team. Truc received her master’s of public policy degree and bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Virginia (UVA). During her time at UVA’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, she further explored her interest in education policy through taking cross-listed classes with the Curry School of Education. For her master’s capstone project, Truc explored ways to increase racial diversity in Teach For America’s teacher corps.

Why I do this work: Growing up Vietnamese American, my family always emphasized the importance and value of education. My educational upbringing was very privileged, growing up in the well-resourced Fairfax County Public Schools and having college-educated parents. However, I know my public school experience was very different from many other minority students, especially other Southeast Asian students, and I want to help all students have equal access and opportunities.

Contacthttps://www.linkedin.com/in/thanh-truc-vo-40ab7013b

Armand Demirchyanheadshot of Armand Demirchyan

Background: Armand Demirchyan is a Policy and Thought Leadership Intern at Bellwether Education Partners, where he has conducted research on race, housing, and education. After college, he served as an Americorps member with Reading Partners in his hometown of Los Angeles,  working on literacy intervention with elementary students. Armand is currently pursuing his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and holds dual degrees in Quantitative Economics and African-American Studies from the University of California, Irvine.

Why I do this work: After graduating college, I served as an Americorps member with Reading Partners Los Angeles. My experience gave me a deeper understanding of the inequities at play for low-income and low-resourced schools. However, I believe that with the right amount of support and investment, strong public education has the power to transform lives.

To learn more about Bellwether’s Policy and Thought Leadership internship program or to apply for a future semester, click here.