Be a Changemaker: KIPP’s 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 even business attire.
Due to COVID-19, the 2021 cohort operated in a virtual environment and Fellows completed their internships remotely.
We hope to return to in-person internships in Washington, DC in 2022.
Over the course of Summer 2021, KIPPterns gained insights into the legislative, executive, or advocacy process by engaging in internships meant to provide a first-hand experience on the inner workings of Washington, DC. In addition, KIPPterns learned from a variety of past and present policymakers. The following steps are for our typical summer cohort. For more information on how we adjusted to accommodate COVID-19, please see below.
Phase I: Selecting Internship Offices
After selection, KIPPterns were asked to provide a list of policy areas or initiatives that they are interested in, as well as learn which Members of Congress represent their hometown and college/university. KIPPterns interests, location, major, and career aspirations were used by KIPP Foundation staff to create a list of offices and non-profits they were required to apply to. KIPPterns were also supported to apply to additional offices they were interested in.
Phase II: Professional Development, Coaching, and Application
After KIPPterns received their list of offices they would like to work for, KIPP’s Policy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement team worked with each KIPPtern individually to refine their resume, draft a professional cover letter, and go through interview prep. KIPPterns were prepared to advocate for themselves through their applications and interviews and put their best foot forward. Once complete, KIPPterns submitted their applications to their offices and awaited acceptance.
Phase III: Completing Internship (Changed due to COVID)
KIPPterns arrived in Washington, DC on Memorial Day weekend and moved into housing at George Washington University. Many offices began internships soon after, at which point KIPPterns worked in accordance with their hosting office’s internship guidelines. Throughout the remainder of the summer, KIPPterns worked with their hosting offices on a wide array of projects. In addition, KIPP provided networking and information sessions. KIPPterns departed 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, 2021, and beyond. Our KIPPterns’ health and safety are always at the forefront of our decision-making process. In 2020, much of Congress cancelled their summer internships and DC-area universities cancelled their summer housing programs. To continue to provide our KIPPterns with a meaningful and educational summer experience we pivoted our 2020 Fellowship program to allow Fellows to work remotely. Fellows were still able to have a meaningful experience as interns to national advocacy non-profits and Members of Congress. We continued this programming in 2021.
During COVID-19, KIPPterns received 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 are reviewed based on the applicant’s interest in policy, career goals and aspirations, past experience, and application materials.
Applying to be a KIPPtern
Interested applicants should submit the following documents via our online application, which will open for the 2022 cohort in late 2021.
- 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 2022 KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship
- Winter 2021: Applications for the 2021 Cohort of KIPP Federal Policy Fellowships open.
- Jan 2022: Deadline for KIPP Alums to submit application materials to apply to be KIPPterns.
- Mid-Jan 2022: Cohort 7 of the KIPPtern program announced.
- Spring 2022: Professional Development, Internship selection, and application.
- Late May 2022: KIPPterns begin their internships from a work from home environment. Virtual professional development and networking opportunities.
- Summer 2022: KIPPterns complete their internships.
- Mid-July 2022: All KIPPterns finish their internships.
- Late-2022: Applications for 2023 Cohort open.
IF YOU ARE INTERESETED IN HOSTING A KIPP FEDERAL POLICY FELLOW AT YOUR ORGANIZATION, EMAIL SCOTT QUINN (CQUINN@KIPP.ORG).
Meet 2021's Cohort
Cierra CadenaTrinity University, Class of 2022
KIPP Texas – San Antonio Alum
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
Cierra Cadena is a rising senior at Trinity University where she is studying Psychology and Linguistics. After graduating, she plans to work in the education field as a teacher while pursuing her master’s degree in Education Policy. Cierra’s long-term goal is to become a school board member.
Daniel Chipres Jr.
Daniel Chipres Jr.Cerritos College, Class of 2023
KIPP SoCal – Los Angeles Alum
Forbes Tate Partners
Daniel Chipres Jr. is a Sophomore at Cerritos College where he is majoring in Economics for Transfer, and is pursuing a career in Higher Education, Macroeconomics, or Urban Policy. He intends to transfer to a four-year institution in Fall 2021, and major in Economics or Real Estate Development. He hopes to close the resource gap for community college students like himself, and boost their confidence in career searches and transferring. On campus, Daniel has been involved as the college’s Student Body Treasurer, the school’s Delegate, the treasurer of the Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society, and a member of the wrestling team. When not in the classroom, Daniel passes on his passion for wrestling and helping younger generations as the head coach of his local high school’s wrestling team, and is also obtaining his California Real Estate License in hopes to strengthen his knowledge in Urban Policy.
Jewel HarrisBowie State University, Class of 2022
KIPP Baltimore Alum
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Jewel Harris is a Junior at Bowie State University where she is majoring in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Jewel is pursuing a career in diplomacy aiming to become a U.S. Diplomat advocating for peace between nation-states, human rights, the better good of the environment, and more. While anticipating graduation in 2022 with her bachelor’s, she is looking forward to furthering her learning experience in international activity through fellowships and internships before attending Graduate school for Foreign affairs.
Joselin (Jo) Marroquin
Joselin (Jo) MarroquinMount Holyoke College, Class of 2021
KIPP New Jersey Alum
ED and Labor Committee (Majority)
Joselin Marroquin is a senior at Mount Holyoke College majoring in Sociology with a minor in Environmental Studies and a NEXUS is Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights. Joselin is planning to go get a Masters in Social Work and Juris Doctorate within two years of graduating from undergraduate. She is passionate about social justice and wants to work with those in marginalized communities to create policies that are effective and change those that are harming her community. Joselin is from Guatemala and Newark, NJ and loves to dance and teach others how to.
Kiara MolinaVanderbilt University, Class of 2022
KIPP Nashville Alum
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Kiara is a rising senior at Vanderbilt University where she is majoring in Human Organizational Development. Kiara plans to pursue a career in Law where she hopes to advocate for justice within the immigrant community. She is highly passionate about immigration, education reform, and women’s rights. Upon graduating college, Kiara plans to work for a non-profit organization with a focus on providing educational opportunities to underprivileged communities. While expecting to graduate with her bachelor’s in 2022, she is looking forward to attending law school and becoming an immigration lawyer. Kiara is from Nashville, TN.
Guadalupe (Lupe) Rosas
Guadalupe (Lupe) RosasTexas A&M University, Class of 2021
KIPP Texas – Houston Alum
The Education Trust
Guadalupe Rosas is a senior at Texas A&M University, where she is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Communication. Guadalupe is highly passionate about environmental justice as she experienced poverty and environmental racism at an early age. Guadalupe is currently involved in two student organizations and is a research assistant for two research projects. After graduating this summer, Guadalupe intends to work for an environmental law firm or a non-profit before applying to law to become an environmental attorney. After law school, Guadalupe aspires to advocate for marginalized communities living near polluting industries.
Andrea TecpoyotlUniversity of San Diego, Class of 2022
KIPP SoCal – San Diego Alum
An activist, Andrea has advocated for Dreamers nationwide. Andrea plans to earn her Master’s degree in order to accomplish her ultimate goal of opening a non-profit organization that helps immigrants and the undocumented community. Andrea found her passion for activism when she advocated for the Dream Act in Washington, D.C. Andrea’s aspirational career fields are community activism, law, or non-profit work. She’s previously interned Innovation Law Lab and is an undocumented student coordinator at her school.. Andrea is a Junior at the University Of San Diego majoring in Sociology and Ethnic Studies.
Justice WigginsNorth Carolina Central University, 2021
KIPP ENC Alum
Human Rights Campaign
Justice Wiggins is a senior at North Carolina Central University where she is majoring in Social Work. In the upcoming year, she will gather experience working in the macro and mezzo levels of community work while also conducting research on the policies that place certain communities at a disadvantage in comparison to their surrounding neighborhoods. She hopes to take those learnings and implement fundamental change in her own community to create a lasting impact for the misrepresented residents in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.
Rohan Ubongabasi Wilson
Rohan Ubongabasi WilsonElon University, Class of 2022
KIPP Atlanta Alum
National Waste and Recycling Association
Rohan Wilson is a junior at Elon University where he is majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Policy Studies. Rohan hopes to have a career in environmental policy so that he could have a position in the government creating and passing legislation that would help slow and reverse the effects of climate change. He is also interested in creating policies to ease environmental pressures from climate change on poor and minority citizens.