Intro/Outro

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the end of my tenure as a research assistant at the Public Policy Center. For Trevor, Jason, and myself, the contract is up on June 30, and while there is some consolation in knowing that the three of us are leaving here with our MPPs and research skills honed over the last two (or in my case, three) years, it’s a tough position to give up. I know speak for all of us when I say that our experience here has been invaluable and that we are appreciative of the opportunities the assistantship has afforded us. But dwelling on the past makes me sad, and I know that there are bright futures ahead for all of us. In September, Trevor and Jason will be heading to UMass Boston to earn a Masters in Applied Economics and a Ph.D. in Public Policy, respectively.

As for myself, I will be staying local, very local actually, because on July 1, I will be starting as a Research Associate at the PPC. I’m excited to be able to stay on board here and contribute to the Center’s mission of informing evidence-based policy making and acting as a resource for the region that I’ve always called home. During the coming year, I will have an expanded role in our research, and I am excited to be able to devote myself full time; no more weekend nights tossing pizza dough on the side, or day-long POL 585 draft editing sessions. While I will help continue the PPC’s work in the cities of New Bedford and Fall River, I also look forward to cutting my teeth on our larger, regional research. Most importantly, I am grateful to be able to continue working with the extraordinary, supportive team here, and I look forward to being able to share my experience with the next cohort of graduate research assistants.

Introduction: Summer Intern Brendan McDonald

My name is Brendan J. McDonald II, and I will be a senior this fall at B.M.C Durfee High School. I am a Fall River native and will be a fourth generation Durfee graduate. I came to Durfee after a nine-year parochial education. This small school and highly structured environment provided me with a unique understanding of the human race. It taught me to never judge, appreciate diversity, expect problems to arise, and to work to solve those problems with hardwork, dedication, and belief in the cause.

The city of Fall River and attending Durfee allow one to experience and witness the trials and tribulations our community faces. Being a part of the 2015 Public Policy Internship Program will allow me to be a part of the solution, creating ways to better serve our community. This summer we are researching the mobility of Section 8 housing in Massachusetts. We hope to identify any problems with Section 8 and the mobility of its recipients.

This September, entering my final year at Durfee, I plan to focus on the challenges our generation faces. To bring a more tactical approach to the debate team, I will encourage my peers to strategically attack our problems and uncover beneficial solutions.

In regards to my future and goals, the college application process has begun with assessing which options are best for me. I have a multitude of options to apply to, but my first choice will be the U.S Military Academy at West Point. There, I will gain perspective on a national level, making our nation a better place to live.

In conclusion, I will leave you with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt,  to better understand my approach to life and my future: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” One has to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that one meets it with the best one has to give. This is not a dress rehearsal, it is our life, so let’s make a difference.

Introduction: Summer Intern Cheyenna Forsee

My name is Cheyenna Forsee and I’ll be returning to Durfee High School this September as a rising senior. I have spent all my high school years at Durfee, and I am involved with the Mock Trial team and the Youth Leadership Council. This summer, I hope to be able to learn new things and gain valuable experience. I hope to learn things that will help me achieve my future goals. My main goal is to become a human rights lawyer because I am extremely passionate about that subject. I saw this internship as a good opportunity to build up my knowledge and help me to use some of these skills in my future. In the fall, I will continue competing with Mock Trial as well as the Youth Leadership Council, where we volunteer, as well as work closely with organizations like the 84 Movement (which fights to end teen tobacco use). I will also be applying to colleges in the fall, hoping to major in political science to help get myself to law school. If possible, I would rather major in human rights, but I have had to expand my horizons due to the small number of schools that offer it as a major. My main concern is affording college because I am concerned about not getting enough scholarships. My brother will be heading off to college just 3 years after me, so I have to think about the cost of attendance. This summer, we are working on a project involving the socioeconomic mobility and clustering of families and people in Section 8 housing. We found this topic very interesting because the Greater Fall River area has so much Section 8 housing, and it has become a controversial subject. Section 8 is supposed to provide more mobility for the people who use it, and I think the results of this project, and the final map will be a great source of information. In any case, I am extremely excited to be working here this summer and I think this will be a great experience for me, as well as the other interns!

Introduction: Summer Intern Katrina Ferreira

My name is Katrina Ferreira, and I am proud and excited to be an intern at the UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center this summer. I am a rising senior at Durfee High School in Fall River, and will be applying to colleges in the fall, as a prospective International Relations major. At Durfee, I am active in many organizations and clubs, such as Student Government, Greater Fall River Youth Leadership Council, Mock Trial, and Debate Team. I participate in these clubs because they all help me achieve something significant- whether it is bettering my school, my community, or myself and my peers. I applied for this internship because I wanted to continue bettering my community and myself over the summer, but in a more compact and concrete way. I am very excited to be able to do research on some problems present in my city, and to use tools of analysis to effectively develop potential solutions to better my community. My fellow interns and I will be working on a research project studying mobility and clustering of Section 8 Housing in Fall River, MA. I’m interested in this topic because it is has a real impact on my city, which has one of the highest concentrations of Section 8 Housing in the state. Section 8 Housing is an important tool that is supposed to provide mobility and opportunities to low-income families. At the end of my internship, I know I will be very satisfied with everything I have achieved, and the impact I have made. In summary, I am happy and eager to begin my work as a Public Policy Center Intern this summer!

Introduction: Trevor V. Mattos, Research Intern

I began working as an intern with the Urban Initiative nearly one month ago (September 2014) today, and have since had the privilege of contributing to the great applied work going on here and at the Center for Policy Analysis. I currently hold a bachelors degree from Gordon College in International Development and Public Health, and I’ve recently started the Master of Public Policy program here at UMass Dartmouth.

As an undergraduate, I worked closely with a nonprofit, Clinics of Hope, to design and coordinate a community-level public health research program in Togo, West Africa. Then, after graduating in 2012, I decided to explore my heritage in Lima, Peru. For a little over a year, I taught English and volunteered with the Latin American nonprofit, TECHO. My academic interests are deeply connected to, and driven by these real world experiences. I believe in the power of applied research to shape public discourse, leading to creative solutions for sustainable, inclusive social and economic development.

In the past month, I have worked on unemployment data sets for the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project and assisted with the Acushnet Avenue Economic Impact Study. I am really grateful for this opportunity, and for the way my colleagues have welcomed me into the community.

 

Trevor V. Mattos

Master of Public Policy Program, 2014-2016

 

 

Jason Wright, 2014-15 Graduate Research Assistant

By Jason Wright, Graduate Research Assistant, UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative

I graduated from William and Mary in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology.  My background is in psychological research, and I have served as a research assistant and research coordinator at both the state and federal level. Through these positions I had the opportunity to work on a number of projects dealing with intimate partner violence, PTSD, and substance use. I am passionate about efforts to reduce poverty. This interest has developed as a result of personal experiences as well as exposure to vulnerable populations and data suggesting socioeconomic status as a risk factor for things like PTSD and intimate partner violence.

This is my first semester in the MPP program, and I am looking forward to learning more about the policymaking process, expanding my set of research skills, and narrowing my research interests. Furthermore, I am excited to be involved with the Urban Initiative working on meaningful projects that benefit the residents of the Southcoast and our Commonwealth. The team here has been friendly and welcoming, and I look forward to our journey together.

Adam Vieira reflects on his past & future as UI summer intern

My name is Adam Vieira, and I am a returning intern for the Urban Initiative program here at UMass Dartmouth.  I have had the privilege of serving as a Summer intern for the past two years at the Urban Initiative, working on various projects which have focused on public policies and public data regarding gateway cities in Massachusetts.

My first summer with the Urban Initiative in 2012 provided me with the opportunity to develop involvement in the South Coast Urban Indicators Project (SCUIP), a sweeping research-based report on Fall River and New Bedford that examines urban success factors, including safety, education, and cultural engagement, amongst many others. Finding the topic of education particularly interesting and pressing for gateway cities as a whole, the summer high school internship program researched the topic of college accessibility for youth in Massachusetts gateway cities for the summer of 2013, culminating in a final report on the financial, academic, and cultural barriers to college-attendance which was released in the fall of 2013.

Coming back to the Urban Initiative for the last time as a high school intern, it is my hope to continue the mission to highlight and incite discourse on the various issues pertinent to our local urban communities, their residents, and those who possess the power to direct decision-making through research rooted in quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Through research and discussion, resolution to public issues germane to our local municipalities can be reached. A proud citizen of New Bedford, I graduated from New Bedford High School last month (Go Whalers!)  and have a consecrated interest in aiding our gateway cities through the creation of data. Come September, I will be attending Brown University, where I intend to concentrate in Public Policy—a discipline of study that I was attracted to in great part due to my experience interning here at the Urban Initiative for these past few Summers. Upon my entrance to college in September, I am going to deeply miss the Summer afternoons spent in the cool Chase Road office, scribbling ideas on the conference room whiteboard and “nerding-out” with tons of public data. That said, It is my hope to continue working with public issues, particularly those relevant to urban centers, as policy stands to unlock incalculable potential.  In the meantime, in conjunction with the Urban Initiative, I look forward to providing insight on all things relevant to our gateway cities throughout the Summer.

Happy Reading!

Welcome returning intern Emma York

Hello again! This summer I am thrilled to continue collaborating with fellow interns at the Urban Initiative to discuss a myriad of local issues including…..

Religion in New Bedford, purportedly the most godless city in America according to a recent article in Time Magazine which cited statistics from the American Bible Society http://time.com/1541/godless-cities-in-america/

Racial, Age, Gender, and Geographic Representation in Our Elected Officials and its effect on voting habits and funding allocation in New Bedford and Fall River, areas with recent influxes of immigrant populations

And any other issues that spark our interest over the summer!

I will be entering my senior year at New Bedford High School and recently completed an Advanced Placement Statistics course in my Junior Year in which we chose to survey students at New Bedford High School to answer the inquiry: Does race effect our perception of beauty? My results, a resounding yes, have certainly influenced my interests this summer and hopefully the course has honed my skills as a statistician and I hope that I can bring all of that enthusiasm to the urban initiative page over the summer so stay tuned!

Meet Eleanor Bodington, our new summer intern!

Hi, I’m Eleanor Bodington, and I will be a senior this fall at Durfee High School in Fall River. I transferred to Durfee my junior year, and I spent this past year pretty much getting a feel for the school and all it has to offer. I joined the mock trial team and dance team, and this upcoming year, I plan on joining the debate team as well. At my old school, Tiverton High School, I was on the school newspaper, the Tiger Rumble. This summer, I hope to be able to gain a greater understanding of my community and the people that live here. I also hope to be able to analyze data and interpret it in a way that could benefit my community. This autumn, I will be applying to college, where I hope to study Broadcast Journalism. However, I have been recently considering taking a “gap year” to become a “real person” as a coworker once told me. But I suppose it all depends on what I decide come autumn. My biggest anxiety about college is being able to afford it. My parents already have two children in college, so I am going to try my hardest to get a substantional scholarship. Hopefully the Urban Initiative will help me stand out in the application process. I am very excited to be working with the other interns on the Urban Intiative, and I’m sure I’ll have a great summer!

Meet our new summer intern: Mason Thibault

Hello readers,

My name is Mason Thibault, and I will be a senior next year at BMC Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts. Firstly, I must state that I am delighted to possess the opportunity to learn and benefit from my summer internship. The prospect of learning more about my community and the general civic infrastructure is both alluring to my intellectual and humanistic senses, and an opportunity to work and collaborate with my peers in an effort to seek creative solutions to the growing problems facing our generation. I hope to focus on raising awareness for both the Urban Initiative Program, and any effective studies conducted by the group. The efforts and aspirations of all parties who make this internship possible deserve profuse recognition, and I intend to invoke a greater awareness for understanding the effects of civic infrastructure in ways that are accessible to civilians in urban areas. In summary, I hope to develop a mutuality that helps develop my academic and research based skills, while ultimately providing a unique outlook that can flavor and append the work of the Urban Initiative team.

This upcoming school year, I seek to continue to build and expand upon my debate team by forming a strong collective club that can function with the changing winds of graduating classes and educational reform.  I also seek to competitively apply to prestigious colleges and better my developmental athletically and artistically through participation in theater and fall sports.

In regards to higher education, I cannot possibly conceive a more beneficial experience for the young intellectual than that of formal college education. While I plan to apply to Georgetown, Boston College, UMass Amherst and Brown University, I also have begun the application process for the United States Military Academy at West Point. Despite the differences from traditional college, I strongly aspire to attend West Point to fulfill my desire for purposeful service to the country and community, and for the physical, mental, and moral betterment of myself and my fellow personages. While my desire to attend West Point stems from my personal experience, and experience in scouting and as an Eagle Scout, my desire for formal post-high school education has existed since elementary school, and it has since been reinforced by my instructors, parental figures, and by my own personal convictions and beliefs. In conclusion, I bring a wide range of social and civic experiences, and most importantly I am strongly grounded in my own beliefs, but liberally open to discussion and development, providing excellent grounds for participation in this summer’s Urban Initiative program. In the words of the great Whitman, “the powerful play goes on”, and I can only anticipate that my contributed verse is met with thought provoking dialogue in the community.

Happy Reading!