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Each year the Public Policy Institute welcomes interns to work with us and learn how to be advocates for positive change in our community. This summer, we’ve been lucky to have three outstanding interns working with PPI mentors on opioid policy, tobacco disparities, and fund development. We’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll achieve next.
Milwaukee native Jazzmyne Adams attends the UW-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health while working as a research program coordinator of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Jazzmyne’s academic focus is on Public Health Policy and Administration. At the Public Policy Institute, Jazzmyne is helping PPIs’ Research and Program Coordinator Mike Bare to research and develop policies to expand on the state’s Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) agenda and do more for those caught up in the opiate epidemic.
Jazzmyne said she welcomes diving into policy on opiates because it broadens her capacity to solve the problem. At the Medical College, she sees the impact of the epidemic in a very tangible way. Through her studies at UWM, she can put it into context. In her policy research at PPI, she can use those lessons to craft guidelines that will help the communities most affected.
“We’re always seeing it at MCW,” Jazzmyne said of the opioid epidemic. “I have all of these clues but I have nothing to channel my energy and my passion into. I can see it in my community. In school, I’m reading about the social health determinants that are affected from opioid dependence but I’m not able to take any actionable steps. That was really frustrating.”
One of the perks of interning at the Public Policy Institute is sitting in on meetings with community partners and leaders and hearing their insights.
“I appreciate getting the exposure to different people in the community who you often read about and you kind of know what they’re doing, but you don’t know the extent of what they’re doing,” Jazzmyne said. “You don’t know the details of their job. To see it in motion and to see them working toward something that’s going to be so great for the community, or has so much potential, has kind of affirmed how I feel about working in the nonprofit sector.”
Jazzmyne has also found a helpful mentor in Mike Bare. She was selected as one of the first 16 fellows for the Milwaukee chapter of the New Leaders Council, which Mike co-chairs. The group aims to support and train young progressives’ leadership and professional development.
City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance Intern
Brittany Goodridge was born in New York City and raised in Trinidad. She is currently a full-time student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, pursuing a degree in Environmental Health Science through UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health. Brittany’s area of research interest involves examining social, economic, and environmental exposures of minority populations. This summer, Brittany is working with the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance to support their goal of reducing the disproportionate burden in various communities within Milwaukee by tobacco use. Her work responsibilities entail conducting environmental retail scans at vendors that sell tobacco products and documenting appropriate corresponding data. Together all of the partners within the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance will be collecting more than 100 of these scans throughout the city.
“During an environmental scan we assess the retail environment of the stores surveying for not only tobacco products and advertising but food and alcohol as well,” Brittany said. “It’s an opportunity to see how these exposures affect different parts of Milwaukee.”
When asked what she has been able to conclude based on her research thus far, she responded:
“I’m definitely seeing more tobacco retailers in areas that have low-income and minority populations.”
In addition to conducting research, Brittany is also helping Alliance Coordinator Anneke Mohr conduct community outreach to intercede the harm posed by smoking, as well as educate and prepare communities for the smoking ban in public housing that will go into effect in the next year. Brittany is excited to encourage positive change within the communities that she is working with. She says that while she is somewhat apprehensive about public speaking, she understands that conquering new skills is part of her overall experience as an intern.
“I am not a big public speaker, I get really shy,” she said. “But we do it. I think it’s a good push and I think that’s one of the things I appreciate about this opportunity, just being able to build on that skill.”
Shorewood native Madeleine Nation will be a third-year undergraduate at Boston College, majoring in Political Science with a focus in American Politics and minoring in Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good. She aspires to get a Masters of Public Affairs from the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs and work as a food policy specialist.
“A strange mix of destiny and obsessive Googling brought me to PPI,” she said. “While reading the book Wisconsin Works for my Federalism class this past year, I became familiarized with the work of David Riemer. After searching the internet for more information about his background and the implementation of welfare reform in Wisconsin, I found out that David Riemer worked at PPI, an organization that was located right across the street from my previous internship at Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Milwaukee office. On further investigation, I found that the projects at PPI align with my interests, my former employer Jon Richards works here as a junior advisor, and that PPI offers summer internships.”
While she works most closely with PPI’s Grants Manager Deb Heffner, Maddie has had her hand in a number of the Public Policy Institute’s summer projects.
“While I am formally a development intern at PPI, I have worked as support for the MCSAP Coalition, Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, and general Community Advocates development,” she said. “I have researched a wide variety of topics such as foundations in the Milwaukee area, marijuana use, juvenile justice, and housing, as well as updated websites, proofread grant proposals, sat in on numerous meetings, and cleaned the infamously messy closet. As of now I am drafting one-page explanations of different PPI projects and their next steps and searching for academic groups or individuals to join the MCSAP Coalition.”
Her biggest takeaway from the summer is learning about the intricacies of funding and the difficulty of measuring impact. “Before interning at PPI, I had no appreciation for how difficult it was for nonprofits to fund projects and the sheer amount of work it takes to meet requirements,” she said. “Further, many funders require proof of impact, but impact is difficult to measure. How can you be sure that a change came directly because of your organizations efforts? How do you express need, when that need is not officially measured or statistics are not readily available? PPI has taught me that change is difficult to quantify.”
Interested in interning with PPI? Deadline to apply for the spring semester is November 15. Summer interns should apply by March 15. Deadline to apply for fall is July 15.
Posted Feb 16, 2018
Posted Feb 2, 2018