HKS Rappaport Fellows Making an Impact

August 3, 2012
Jenny Li Fowler (HKS Communications Department)

Growing and improving Main Streets' farmer's markets, tracking bicycle related injuries and developing landscape visualizations are just a few ways Rappaport Institute Fellows are making a difference in local neighborhoods this summer.
This year, three Harvard Kennedy School students were among the 14 fellows chosen to work in state and local offices in the Greater Boston area. This ten-week opportunity allows students to get hands-on experience in local government management and use their analytical skills to benefit the public.
Matthew La Rocque MPP 2013 is spending the summer with the Boston Plan for Excellence (BPE) and Boston Public Schools.
“Specifically, I analyzed earned income models and human resource practices of school support organizations across the country, and presented BPE's senior leadership team with strategies to achieve financial sustainability,” said La Rocque. “Along the way, I learned that non-profit organizations like BPE need to work in close partnership with their local government counterparts if they hope to be successful.”
The opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in a classroom is a major motivation for the fellows.
“At the Kennedy School, I gained experience analyzing large amounts of information and explaining it concisely,” said Ashali Singham MPP 2013, “Which helped me develop effective materials this summer.”
Singham has been working in the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance. “I saw how quantitative analysis is done in government, which I think will be useful in my classes next year.”
Emily Monea MPP 2013 agreed the experience gained through the fellowship will give her more direction moving forward.
“I feel far more confident now than I did before the fellowship about which classes will be most beneficial to me and what I want to get out of my PAE. My final year at the Kennedy School will also be more productive because I will be able to draw on my experience working in municipal government,” she said.
Monea’s primary project has been assisting the redesign of SomerStat.
“My time working in Somerville – from attending morning staff meetings with Mayor Curtatone to interacting with a wide range of city employees and residents - gave me a thorough education on what it's like to work for municipal government,” said Monea. “While by no means glamorous and quite often frustrating, it's also uniquely rewarding because you can actually observe how the work you do benefits the public. As a simple but telling example, I helped take care of the vegetable garden at City Hall, and while I was outside watering or pruning I heard from several constituents about how excited they were about the garden.”
Most of the students will be completing their fellowship projects in mid-August.