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Graduate Degree: Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Often, doctoral students who have an interest in public policy either fail to obtain any experience in the public sector, or simply do not have access to the governing bodies that actually work with the policy issue of interest. For me, the Rappaport Public Policy Summer Fellowship afforded me the unique opportunity to do just that. As a sociologist deeply committed to studying social problems emanating from the criminal justice and penal system, the experience of working for the entire summer with the Massachusetts Department of Correction opened my eyes to the realities of policy making in these areas. Having spent three years prior to this fellowship interested in prison and reentry issues, I still lacked the real-world experience of prisons themselves. This Fellowship literally took me inside prisons, gave me the uncommon knowledge of how prisons and reentry work, and how policies shape and are shaped by the constant political question of how to properly, humanely and efficiently house those who have committed crimes. I truly believe that this fellowship is indispensible to my academic pursuits as a sociologist, and I strongly recommend this program to anyone in academia who wishes to enrich their research with an experience in the practical application of policy.