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The Beginning: CER Intern Chronicles

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I am a bit of a nomad. As a kid I moved across the country multiple times; Hawaii, California, South Dakota, Arizona, and South Carolina. Now I am living and working in Washington DC, but I always struggle when people ask me where I am from. It’s a serious identity crisis.

But when people ask me what I want to do when I graduate, or what I am passionate about, I respond with no hesitation or internal debate. “I love education policy.”

Since beginning a policy research project at my first Washington DC summer internship with the Council of State Government (CSG), and picking up my first policy report on school leadership, I knew that I was in love with education policy and research. I have always enjoyed my time spent in school, but I never expected that I would pursue a career in education. However, the more I have learned about the flaws plaguing the schools, especially those in our urban centers, the more I feel compelled to be a part of the solution.

I am not sure exactly where I will fit into the broader picture of improving urban education for the United States, but this semester I am spending the first part of my senior year at Wofford College studying and working in Washington DC. I am spending my mornings working in Senator Tim Scott’s office; I chose to work with him because of his commitment to school choice policies and position on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

And in the afternoons I am excited to be working with the Center for Education Reform. I believe that splitting my time between the US Senate and a nationally known education organization will give me a unique and diverse perspective on education policy, research, advocacy, and legislation. There is so much that I hope to learn this semester with CER, but most importantly I want to learn about charter school development, management and expansion. I hope to understand which policies create a favorable climate for charter development, how to best advocate for those policies, and how to get families and communities engaged in discussions about their schools.

It has already been an amazing first day as an intern at CER and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this semester has in store for me.

Lindsay Uhlinger, CER Intern

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