Jeff Terziev: Spring and Summer 2013 Cohorts

     1. What is your name and alma mater? Which UELIP cohort were you a part of?

My name is Jeff Terziev. I studied Political Science at the University of Miami before getting my Masters of Public Policy at Georgetown, focused on education policy. I did the UELIP program twice – once in the spring of 2013, and once in the summer of 2013.

  1. What is your current position? What does your work entail?

I am a research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research and work on a range of tasks, from helping coordinate projects to conducting reviews of research studies, working with data sets and analyzing data, and writing memos and reports. Mathematica is a research organization dedicated to improving public well-being. I work in our human services division and work mostly on education projects. I am particularly interested in educator quality and how our country can improve the quality of its principals and teachers.

  1. What position were you in as a UELIP? What project(s) did you work on?

In the spring I was a part of an assessments team within the Office of Data and Strategy. I worked on planning for statewide assessments and facilitated training sessions on how to administer tests. In the summer I was part of a teacher recruitment and selection team. I helped run onboarding sessions, analyze teacher data, and conduct research on recruiting staff from teacher preparation programs.

  1. What were your fondest memories from the UELIP program?

Some of my fondest memories from the program involved getting to meet so many intelligent people who had similar passions for improving our nation’s education system. I also greatly enjoyed observing what was really going on in the district and looking at how school district policy was being formed and implemented. Attending the chief chats – and listening to Chancellor Kaya Henderson speak in person – were great experiences.

  1. How does your past experience with the UELIP program inform your work now?

The UELIP program gave me a greater understanding of how school districts function, especially in regards to how they administer assessments and recruit and evaluate teachers. The knowledge I gained through the UELIP program about how districts function has proven invaluable and has allowed me to better contribute to the work I do at Mathematica.

  1. What advice would you give to your past UELIP self?

Being a UELIP is a valuable opportunity to see inside the workings of a school district. I would advise observing things closely and getting as involved as possible. Thinking about a career, I would advise doing as much networking as possible.

  1. What is one important relationship that you formed as a result of your time as a UELIP?

As a UELIP I met two of my better friends in DC, Liz and Elise, who were former UELIPs working on the same floor as me during the summer internship.

  1. In what ways would you like to grow in the next five years?

In addition to interning with DCPS I have also interned with the U.S. Department of Education. I would like to continue to build on the knowledge that I gained interning for both organizations and use those insights about how governmental organizations work and what they do to help improve the quality of education in the U.S., particularly for those less fortunate. I would also like to continue to build my research skills and contribute to the availability of high quality education research that policymakers can use to inform their decisions.

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Michael Redmond: Summer 2014 Cohort

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  1. What is your name and alma mater? Which UELIP cohort were you a part of?

My name is Michael Redmond, and I was part of the Summer 2014 cohort. I attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for my undergraduate studies, Belmont University for my graduate studies, and then the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before UELIP, I also taught in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System.

  1. What position were you in as a UELIP? What project(s) did you work on?

As a UELIP I worked in the Office of Teaching and Learning and was a part of the STEM department under Dr. Kim Cherry. My primary responsibility was building and facilitating relationships between STEM-geared internships and the schools to help provide relevant work and professional experience for students in their junior and senior years.

  1. What is your current position?

I am currently serving as the Summer School Principal at Truesdell Education Campus. I am also currently pursuing a doctorate at Georgetown that focuses on diverse student populations, with a primary research interest in mitigating the school to prison pipeline. I believe the path to the American criminal system begins in the school – where young black and brown children are over-identified in special education and under-identified in gifted education.

  1. What motivates you in your current position as Principal at Truesdell?

I think it is important for black and brown kids to know that the world does not determine how worthy they are. I stay in education because of those children, because of their dreams and their life trajectories. I want to give children the foundation to believe they can do whatever they want and be whoever they dream – I want children to believe that they are already excellent.

  1. What were your fondest memories from the UELIP program?

My fondest memory as a UELIP was heading the social committee and organizing events, like Jazz in the Sculpture Garden or Amazing Race. I would get into work really early – around 5:30am – and then by 12pm would have time to start planning everything out. I headed the committee with someone who would become one of my closest friends in life, Lincoln Boyd.

  1. What is one meaningful relationship you’ve formed during your time with DCPS?

Mary Ann Stinson, Principal at Truesdell EC, has been pivotal in my growth. She is really committed to my personal development and helped turn my good qualities into great qualities, and that has been really exciting for me as an educator so I can help my students become even better than they currently are. Principal Stinson was the first leader in my life who was very vocal in her encouragement of me.

  1. What advice would you give to UELIPs?

The same thing I tell my kids: your dreams are valid, and whatever you want to do, do it. Do not be afraid to go for it. There are going to be people in this world who tell you that you’re not smart or strong enough, but you just have to believe you’re capable and take that initiative yourself to accomplish your goals.

Philemon Atieku: Fall 2015 Cohort

Philemon

  1. What is your name and alma mater? Which UELIP cohort were you a part of?

My name is Philemon Atieku, member of the Fall 2015 UELIP cohort. I studied Political Science and Leadership as an undergrad at the University of Maryland, and continued my graduate studies in Public Policy there as well.

  1. What is your current position? What does your work entail?

I serve as the Operations Coordinator in the Office of Talent and Culture (OTC) in DCPS Central Office. My main tasks include managing the office’s budgets and procurements (i.e., making sure we don’t overspend!), preparing contracts, and attending to general office operations that keep OTC a well-oiled machine.

  1. What position were you in as a UELIP? What project(s) did you work on?

I worked in the Office of College and Career helping build an employee skills curriculum and rubric, which DCPS teachers and partners could use to prepare DCPS student-interns for the professional world. I also assisted in writing an intern training manual and planning school-based events such as college fairs and speaker panels.

  1. What were your fondest memories from the UELIP program?

In my very first meeting on my very first day at DCPS Central Office, Chancellor Henderson came into the room, and I vividly remember feeling struck by her presence. She embodies DCPS’ mission and passionate commitment to its schoolchildren, all of which inspire me to come to work every day. I also really enjoyed the Chief Chats, where the heads of each office spoke with UELIPs about their team’s major work and how they got to where they are today.

  1. How does your past experience with the UELIP program inform your work now?

The content knowledge I picked up as a UELIP was not as transferable as the broadly defined skills that working in Central Office taught me. The experience I gained in communication, organization, writing (concision is key!), and how to comport myself in a professional office setting was invaluable.

  1. What advice would you give to your past UELIP self?

Do more networking! UELIP brings an incredibly diverse and talented group of students and young professionals together into one space. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from one another and make connections with people you admire. I would also tell my younger self to take more time to learn about the different roles in Central Office and their finer-level responsibilities. Put yourself out there, ask for more work, and gain as much experience as you can.

  1. What is one important relationship that you formed as a result of your time as a UELIP?

My supervisor continues to support me, and we frequently keep in touch. The UELIP program manager at the time also helped me secure my current position in Central Office after the internship ended. With regards to forming meaningful relationships, I would remind all prospective UELIPs – in Central Office and in life – to be humble and respectful toward everyone you meet, because you never know in what context you’ll meet them again.

  1. In what ways would you like to grow in the next five years?

I still want to be working in the education and/or nonprofit sector for sure, hopefully within DCPS. I would like to be more involved in the policymaking process. My dream is to one day set policy initiatives for children who want to go to college but don’t necessarily have the means. I moved from Ghana to Maryland when I was 12, and I’m currently brainstorming ways in which I can increase access to secondary and higher education for kids in those communities overseas. My passion is helping youth become successful, so I ultimately want to grow as a leader and move into roles that maximize my impact on others’ personal growth.