Fellowships and Opportunities


Lorena Hernandez Barcena–Public Policy & International Affairs Fellowship

Name: Lorena Hernandez Barcena

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Major(s): Economics

Minors or Concentrations: Poverty and Human Capability Studies, Education Policy

Opportunity and Year: Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship Program, Summer 2018: Junior Summer Institute (Berkeley)

Project Summary: The Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Junior Summer Institute is a seven-week program designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy. The JSI curriculum includes economics, statistics, domestic/international policy issues and leadership topics, all designed to sharpen the students’ quantitative, analytic and communication skills. Participants also participate in other extracurricular activities that broaden both their academic and professional horizons. Altogether, the program provides students with skills vital for admission into the top graduate programs in public and international affairs.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? W&L has given me the opportunity to develop my interest in public policy and develop skills for constructing and evaluating public policy. Since most of my classes have allowed me to tailor my final papers and projects towards my interests, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a great deal about education policy and immigration policy with feedback from well-informed professors.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? Since I want to go into public policy, my professors have always suggested I consider graduate school opportunities, such as a Master’s in Public Policy. Ultimately, I decided to apply to this program because previous participants had learned a lot from the experience and felt it set them up well for success after graduation. I knew that it could help me understand what grad school might look like and give me an advantage in the application process if I decide to pursue it.

Post-graduation Plans: I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, but I know it involves further understanding of the intersection between education policy and immigration policy, and more than likely some kind of graduate school work.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? This program will help me better define those goals, both in what specifically I am interested in studying and whether I would want to pursue a career in research, policy formulation, or directly in the field as a teacher.

Extracurricular Involvement:

ESOL, Nabors Service League, Volunteer Venture Trip Leader

Off-campus Experience:

Spring Term 2017: Washington Term internship in the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Education and the Workforce

Fall Term 2017: Study Abroad with SIT exploring Human Rights in Nepal, Jordan, and Chile

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