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Britiny Cook ’17, is from Chicago, Illinois. She is a current Sociology major. 

My passion for education led me to the state capitol of Sacramento. There, I spent the summer at StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization that advocates for public school students. With offices in more than ten states, StudentsFirst (SF) pushes to get student-centered legislation passed all across the country. This is accomplished via supporting local grassroots organizations and mobilizing communities to seek change. This past summer, I joined the team at the Sacramento headquarters as a Policy Associate.

The Cornhole League

The Cornhole League!

Over ten weeks, I was immersed in the world of education policy. I attended State Senate Education Committee hearings, sat in on leadership team calls, examined new and existing policy, and was trained in legislative analysis. The capstone of my work at SF was a large research project centered on developing evidence-based solutions to Detroit’s ailing public education system. The three-part project, which was eventually submitted to the Detroit Mayor’s Office, explored common enrollment, portfolio management, and changes in pupil transportation as target areas for potential solutions.

I learned a great deal, but StudentsFirst was hardly an “all work and no play” environment. The StudentsFirst staff was relatively young in age, which was reflected in the professional, yet light-hearted atmosphere. The team members enjoyed getting together outside of work for various activities, including cornhole tournaments, river floats, and trips to the farmer’s markets.

Working at StudentsFirst this past summer was an all-around blast, and I sincerely hope that the next SIG Fellow finds the experience as fun-filled and enriching as I did.

— Britiny Cook

The StudentsFirst Team

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