A summer internship can hold little meaning for some students—something squeezed onto a resume to show that you did more than binge on Netflix all summer with your cat.
This is hardly the case for Batten Master of Public Policy (MPP) students Juliet Buesing (dual degree with UVA School of Law, JD) and Kylie Anglin (dual degree with UVA Curry School, PhD), who both spent their summers interning with Richmond Public Schools (RPS).
As part of a nascent partnership between the Curry School’s EdPolicyWorks program and Richmond Public Schools, MPP students like Buesing and Anglin get the chance to take the skills and knowledge they acquire during the academic year and put them into practice.
A defining feature of EdPolicyWorks is the value it places on data-informed de- cision making, espeically when it comes to better understanding education-based policy decisions, including what ac- counts for them and how they can be im- proved through data-informed research.
Each student made significant con- tributions. Anglin worked to create a data infrastructure for future descriptive and causal analyses on RPS programs, resources and policies. In addition, she helped the district plan for their upcom- ing resource needs, predicting future pur- chasing requirements based on previous resource use.
Richmond Public School’s chief operating officer, Darin Simmons, praised the students, saying, “Juliet and Kylie’s work helped us to assess and improve current systems and processes, and put us on the path to being a division that uses data-in- formed decision making.”
He went on to say, “Juliet Buesing in particular did a fantastic job of iden- tifying the gaps in our data systems. She also provided thoughtful ideas and strategies to improve our operations, and helped us get several data integrity projects off the ground.”
In addition to these projects, Buesing spearheaded a less-expected one: a bath- room renovation. The MPP/JD candidate not only got her hands dirty, she did so enthusiastically without any qualms. In a phone interview, she relayed how the RPS facilities were much maligned and in need of a bit of a face-lift. From deter- mining the bathroom renovation needs to coordinating the process for ordering supplies to organizing the renovation teams, Buesing took charge. She reflected on her entire experience as a positive one, pointing out the many different factors that go into improving education—facilities being no exception.