UC Riverside Political Science major Samir Al-Alami spent his summer break in Michigan.
Last June, the outgoing senior began a seven-week fellowship for the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
With an acceptance rate of approximately one in six students, the fellowship’s prestigious program offers students direct access to networks, resources, and other crucial support programs inaccessible to many students.
“I attended classes, workshops, and programs,” Al-Alami said. “I completed homework assignments, like papers or policy memos, and even took periodic quizzes. We also had a final culmination project at the end of our time as fellows, where we were assigned to tackle one policy issue. Fellows were equipped with the tools and the networks for personal, professional, and academic growth, which will assist our future careers in public service.”
The program places fellows from across the country at one of five public policy schools: Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Minnesota, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan. Al-Alami completed his work alongside 23 other fellows, all incoming seniors from across the United States.
“I...encourage more people to apply to this fellowship,” Al-Alami said. “We’re a leading campus in diversity and have so many first-generation students like me who are sons and daughters of immigrants, which is precisely the demographic this fellowship promotes. I have been happy to represent a school that is doing so much for so many, and have been able to share my experiences from CHASS with the other fellows while promoting how much this campus means to me.”
Al-Alami hopes his fellowship experience will help his career post-graduation.
“This program complimented my major perfectly,” Al-Alami said. “This fellowship gave me the skills and networks I needed to apply for future fellowships, such as the Fulbright Grant in my native country of Jordan. It also gave me future career opportunities in public policy, which I will use to look for a job on Capitol Hill to work on issues pertaining to the Middle East, education policy, or immigration policy.”
Currently, Al-Alami’s post-graduation plans remain uncertain. Due to delayed consideration because of COVID-19, he is still waiting to hear back from UC-Riverside’s Center For Social Innovation Nonprofit Fellowship Program and from the Western Riverside Council of Governments fellowship but is hopeful for what the future will bring.