As part of the movement for greater leadership among young people in the political process, the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network has created a summer program for college students, which will welcome its sixth cohort this year. The Summer Academy Fellowship offers a rigorous full-time, paid internship at a partner organization in addition to Academy programming that builds students’ skills in research, writing, networking, and organizing.

Fellows are placed in one of three cities: Chicago, where they work at a city department or nonprofit; New York City, where they join the Roosevelt Institute headquarters; or Washington, DC, where they take on professional-level tasks at a national policy organization. Students also receive guidance from the experts on the staff of the Campus Network and partner organizations in developing their own policy proposals.

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network has made its name by bringing together young people passionate about social justice and practical policymaking through projects such as Government By and For Millennial America and the 10 Ideas Series. The network’s 10,000 members are dispersed across 85 colleges and universities all over the country. For some, the Summer Academy Fellowship continues forward from campus activism through one of these chapters. For others from schools where there is no local chapter, the Fellowship is the gateway to the Campus Network.

As two of the Summer Academy’s recent DC Fellows, we can describe how it has transformed our careers, expanding our roles in achieving our visions of progressive change.

Jessica, a Fellow in summer 2012 and member of the Class of 2015 at Mount Holyoke College applied for the program because she wanted to experience national politics at large. She wanted to take her classroom experiences outside to DC. Jessica wanted to explore what it was like to be a queer woman of color on the Hill given the lack of women in political power in public service. She is currently the Deputy Director for Mount Holyoke’s Roosevelt chapter and the Northeast Regional New Chapter Coordinator for the Roosevelt Campus Network and is in the process of bringing pioneers of the DREAM Act (Undocumented and Unafraid) to campus.

Pursuing a degree in neuroscience at the University of Rochester as well as a Take Five Scholarship studying mental illness among Middle Eastern women, Naomi applied for the Academy as she was starting to establish conclusions on public health policy that she wanted to learn how to put into practice. Naomi was conscious of the positive implications her experience might have for others who are Muslim, women, of color, and from immigrant families. Naomi was a Fellow in summer of 2011 and is currently employed at the organization that hosted her internship, the Center for Community Change.

Jessica’s internship placement was at Progressive Congress. She worked with the offices of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), including Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Rosa DeLauro. A pivotal moment in Jessica’s Fellowship was meeting Kurston Cook, who has held the positions of Deputy Director and National Field Director at the Roosevelt Institute and is currently the Coordinator for the National Young Worker Program at the AFL-CIO. Prior to her Fellowship, Jessica’s ideas for reform of the Student Non-Discrimination Act had been published through the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network’s 10 Ideas Series on Education. Mentors at Progressive Congress and the Campus Network encouraged Jessica to contact CPC offices to discuss those proposals. She spoke with the Congressional offices of Representatives Jared Polis and Mike Honda—both of which were ecstatic that she was so eager to explore queer legislative policy.

The Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Summer Academy offers opportunities for students to train in maximizing their impact in the political process. We learned directly from experts in the field, including staff from NDN, Circle, the Fair Elections Legal Network, Truman National Security Project, and of course, the dedicated and endlessly energetic staff of the Campus Network itself. We attended hearings and briefings at the Capitol and the White House and formed relationships with national leaders. Every year, the program improves and the selection process gets more competitive. We look forward to meeting this year’s class, knowing they are in store for a transformative summer that will develop their ability to lead the progressive movement forward.

Are you an undergraduate student interested in Public Policy?  Apply now to our 2013 Summer Academy, a nine-week public policy fellowship in Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC. Applications are closing on Friday, February 22 at midnight PST.