Be a Changemaker: KIPP’s 2020 Federal Policy Fellowship
A summer internship in our nation’s capital is an invaluable experience for any student. Unfortunately, it is largely an opportunity accessible only to those with the means to afford it. For KIPP alumni interested in a career in policy and politics, the financial barriers to pursuing a Capitol Hill internship are significant – to say nothing of the fact that many lack the personal connections necessary to secure such an opportunity.
The majority of internships in DC are still unpaid and those that do offer a small stipend fall far short of what it takes to live and work in such an expensive city for the summer. For far too long, this lack of access has perpetuated a system in which not all voices are represented in our nation’s most vital policy discussions and decisions.
In 2015, KIPP set out to change this dynamic by launching the KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship (also known as the KIPPtern program). Through the KIPPtern program, we leverage our relationships with Congressional offices on both sides of the aisle to help our alumni secure internships. Once in DC, we provide alumni with a stipend as well as support for transportation, meals, lodging, and business attire.
Since DC-area universities cancelled their summer housing and Congress is not hosting summer interns at this time, we pivoted the Federal Policy Fellowship to allow our KIPPterns to complete their internships at home, while still getting immersive first-hand experience and keeping their health and safety at the forefront.
Over the course of Summer 2020, KIPPterns are gaining insights into the legislative, executive, or advocacy process by engaging in internships meant to provide a first-hand experience in the workings of Washington, DC. In addition, KIPPterns learn from a variety of past and present policymakers. The following steps are for our typical summer cohort. For more information on how we’ve adjusted to accommodate COVID-19, please see below.
Phase I: Selecting Internship Offices
After selection, KIPPterns will be asked to provide a list of policy areas or initiatives that they are interested in, as well as learning which Members of Congress represent their hometown and college/university. This information will be aggregated together for KIPPterns to create a list of offices that they would like to intern with.
Phase II: Professional Development, Coaching, and Application
After KIPPterns create their list of offices they would like to work for, KIPP’s Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement team will work with each KIPPtern individually to refine their resume, draft a professional cover letter, and go through interview prep. KIPPterns will be prepared to advocate for themselves through their applications and interviews. Once complete, KIPPterns will submit their applications to their offices and await acceptance.
Phase III: Completing Summer 2020 Internship
KIPPterns will arrive in Washington, DC on Memorial Day weekend and move into housing at George Washington University. Many offices will begin internships soon after, at which point KIPPterns will work in accordance with their hosting office’s internship guidelines. Throughout the remainder of the summer, KIPPterns will work with their hosting offices on a wide array of projects. In addition, KIPP will also provide networking and information sessions. KIPPterns will depart Washington, DC, after completing their internship during the week of July 4th, with new experiences and knowledge about what it takes to be a changemaker.
Changes We’ve Made Due to COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed everyone’s plans for 2020 and beyond. Our KIPPterns’ health and safety are always at the forefront of our decision-making process. Much of Congress cancelled their summer internships and DC-area universities have cancelled their summer housing programs. To continue to provide our KIPPterns with a meaningful and educational summer experience we pivoted to partnering with policy and advocacy organizations to provide work from home internships.
During COVID-19, KIPPterns will receive the following supports throughout the summer as part of the program:
- A bi-weekly stipend to cover expenses – This included an increase to the typical stipend to help with additional expenses that students may be facing because of COVID-19
- Professional development – Resume writing; cover letter writing; interview prep
- Career coaching – Establish the best summer internship for KIPPterns careers
- Stipend for KIPPterns to purchase professional attire
- IT connectivity and hardware support
- Virtual meetings with policymakers
- Virtual networking events
The KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship application process is very similar to the traditional process for securing an internship with a Congressional office, think tank, advocacy, or civil rights organization. Applications for the 2021 program will re-open in late 2020.
Applying to be a KIPPtern
Interested applicants should submit the following documents via our online application in late 2020.
- Current resume, including their expected year of graduation, major and GPA (3.0 GPA or above required);
- A KIPP reference and personal reference including their email address and phone number;
- 3-5-page writing sample previously submitted for a college-level class;
- Cover letter that answers the following prompt:
- Why are you interested in interning for a Member of Congress, think tank, or DC-based advocacy organization? What assets do you think you’d bring to this opportunity that help you stand out from the crowd? What policy areas interest you most? If you could solve one problem in government, what would it be?
Important dates for the 2020 KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship
- December 16th: Deadline for KIPP alums to submit application materials to apply to be KIPPterns.
- December 23rd: Cohort 6 of the KIPPtern program announced.
- Spring 2020: Professional Development and Internship selection and application
- Late May: KIPPterns begin their internships from a WFH environment. Virtual professional development and networking opportunities.
- Summer 2020: KIPPterns complete their internships.
- Mid-July: All KIPPterns finish their internships.
Meet 2020's Cohort
Lesly ArdonUniversity of California, Berkeley, Class of 2021
KIPP SoCal Alumna
The Education Trust – West
Lesly Ardon-Lara is a rising Senior at the University of California, Berkeley where she is double majoring in Sociology and Legal Studies. Lesly is pursuing a career in Education and Policy, where she hopes to go into the non-profit field. After graduating next spring, Lesly wants to fellow/intern with Educational organizations and non-profits before applying to a grad school for Education.
Jackie ArroyoBryn Mawr University, Class of 2022
KIPP Texas – Houston Alumna
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Jackie is a rising junior at Bryn Mawr College, where she double majors in Mathematics and Sociology and plans to either pursue her Ph.D. or J.D. after her bachelor’s. She is highly passionate about social justice within the immigrant community as she is a daughter of two Mexican immigrants. Jackie has worked endlessly advocating for undocumented families within the Houston and Philadelphia area and now the D.C. region. Jackie plans to use her studies to either become an immigration lawyer or a law professor to keep fighting to keep immigrant families together.
Breanna CadenaBrown University, Class of 2022
KIPP Texas – San Antonio Alumna
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Breanna Cadena is a rising junior at Brown University where she is studying Education Policy and Political Science. Upon graduation, she hopes to return to her hometown of San Antonio, Texas and be a local politician focusing on education.
Khyree GloverUniversity of California Merced, Class of 2021
KIPP Bay Area Alumnus
KIPP Bay Area
Khyree Glover is a junior at the University of California Merced where he is majoring in political science with an emphasis in pre-law and American politics. Khyree is pursuing a career in business law and social justice to become a lawyer that promotes equity and economic equality for underprivileged communities. While expecting to graduate with his bachelors in 2022, he is looking forward to attending law school studying business law and public interests. Khyree is from San Francisco, CA and enjoys the visual performing arts.
Dafne Lucio-SanchezSkidmore College, Class of 2023
KIPP Colorado Alumna
Transform Education Now
Dafne Lucio is a Sophomore at Skidmore College where she is majoring in political science and sociology. Dafne is interested in pursuing a career in law where she hopes to represent the values of human rights, justice, and the understanding of human behavior and society. While expecting to graduate with her bachelor’s in 2023, she is looking forward to attending law school and studying immigration law. Dafne is from Denver, CO.
Ja’Kara MillsDuke University, Class of 2021
KIPP Delta Alumna
Human Rights Campaign
Ja’Kara Mills is a rising senior at Duke University where she is double majoring in African and African American Studies and Political Science with a minor in Education. Ja’Kara is planning to pursue a career in Civil Rights Litigation with a primary focus on the criminalization effects of the school to prison pipeline. She hopes to combat these issues while creating a safer space for African American students in public schools. While expecting to graduate with her bachelors in 2021, she is looking forward to immediately attending law school. Ja’Kara is from West Helena, Arkansas, and she enjoys scrapbooking in her free time.
Jessica StackerUniversity of Missouri-Columbia, Class of 2023
KIPP St. Louis Alumna
The Education Trust
Jessica Stacker is a rising sophomore at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she is majoring in Political Science. Jessica plans to attend law school after completing her bachelor’s degree. She is pursuing a career in law with intentions to become a prosecutor or juvenile defense attorney. She aspires to become a driver for reform in the criminal justice system to help better the marginalized populations.
Marquis ThornConcordia University Wisconsin, Class of 2021
KIPP Metro Atlanta Alumnus
United Negro College Fund
Marquis Thorn is a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin, majoring in social work with a minor in social sciences. A native of Atlanta, GA, and first-generation college student, Marquis aspires to be a policy advocate focusing on applying his talents to the macro-social level. With a strong focus on and aptitude for research and data analysis, Marquis aims to use data reporting to advocate for policies that positively impact disenfranchised populations. As the current Mr. Concordia, a Student Ambassador for the university’s Student Social Work Organization, and a member of both the football and track teams, Marquis is an active student leader on campus. When he’s not focused on school, Marquis spends his free time growing his clothing line, Face the World, and following in the footsteps of the great Jimi Hendrix as a self-taught guitarist.
Kamil VickersVillanova University, Class of 2023
KIPP New Jersey Alumnus
National Alliance of Public Charter Schools
Kamil Vickers is a sophomore at Villanova University where he intends to major in political science and economics. Kamil is pursuing a career in public policy with a tailored focus of political and economic development. Kamil hopes to attend Law School upon graduation, where he aspires to obtain his Juris Doctor degree. Kamil currently is involved in 7 student led organizations at school while pursuing his undergraduate degree. He hopes to take the lessons learned inside and outside of the classroom and one day use it to impact youth from his hometown, Newark, NJ.