The Urban Leaders Fellowship (ULF)—an intensive, seven-week experience rooted in policy and practice—has been instrumental to my development as a policy analyst and a leader in the movement for social justice. The fellowship gives LEE members like you and me a paid opportunity to work alongside an elected official on high-level policy while simultaneously seeing that policy play out on the ground in a community organization.
Throughout my ULF experience this past summer in Colorado, I worked with school superintendents, administrators in the Colorado Department of Education, and legislators to make recommendations for the statewide school and district performance frameworks. The work I did was meaningful, and it had real impact for students in Colorado. Thanks to the ULF program, I felt more prepared entering my first year at the Harvard Kennedy School and have a wealth of insights and experiences to draw on as I pursue a masters in public policy.
I would encourage any self-motivated individual with a drive for positive change to apply to become an Urban Leaders Fellow. Here are my top five reasons why:
1. Fine tune the skills you’ve got…
The ULF team helped me leverage the skills I already had and put them to use in a real-world setting. The fellowship is an opportunity to get creative with problem solving, practice accepting constructive criticism, and demonstrate leadership.
2. ...and learn new ones.
Though you’ll be expected to bring something to the table, there’s plenty of room to grow. You’ll think deeply about issues of school performance and evaluation and get hands-on experience in policy development and practice.
3. Make a meaningful impact for kids in your region.
My passion for policy lies in knowing the difference it can make in students’ lives. As an Urban Leaders Fellow, you’ll work towards empowering underserved communities through legislation that reflects the unique landscape of the local schools.
4. Define your long-term goals and set yourself up for success.
One-on-one conversations with the ULF team throughout the fellowship gave me the chance to reflect on where I wanted to go and how to get there. I know I can count on the the team and other fellows for guidance when it comes time to make important career decisions and determine how to make the greatest impact with my work.
5. Build a network of inspiration and support.
The true value of the fellowship rests in the genuine relationships I formed and the network of highly motivated people I connected with over the summer. I am so grateful to be a part of the ULF family.
Applications for the 2015 Urban Leaders Fellowship are now closed. However, please feel free to visit our Urban Leaders Fellowship page to learn more about this opportunity.