Public Policy Students Named Civic Action Project Fellows

Top row, left to right: Alexander Shum, Derek Dunlea, Ayla Thorntona Bottom: left to right: Julia Mathis, Adrienne Nunez, Whitley Plummer
Top row, left to right: Alexander Shum, Derek Dunlea, Ayla Thorntona Bottom: left to right: Julia Mathis, Adrienne Nunez, Whitley Plummer

Six School of Public Policy (SPP) students have been named fellows with the Civic Action Project (CAP), which provides internship experience, training and mentoring for the next generation of public service leaders.

The Civic Action Project matches fellows with internship placements—this year, those include positions in federal, state and municipal government—where they gain invaluable professional experience. Each participant also receives a $5,000 scholarship.

This year’s School of Public Policy fellows and their internships:

  • Derek Dunlea, master of public policy and administration/master of education: the Office of U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley
  • Julia Mathis, 4+1 master of public policy: the Office of State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa
  • Adrienne Nunez, master of public policy and administration: the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center
  • Whitley Plummer, master of public policy and administration/Master of Business Administration: the Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Ayla Thorntona, 4+1 master of public policy: the Office of Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell
  • Alexander Shum, master of public policy, Barr Foundation grant recipient: the City of Everett Planning Department

The School of Public Policy students join other CAP fellows from graduate public policy programs across Massachusetts. In addition to their internships, throughout the summer, the fellows will participate in weekly daylong meetings focused on professional development and public policy issues. At these seminars, the fellows will take part in roundtable training sessions with policy practitioners; meet with prominent leaders from government, nonprofits, academia and advocacy groups; and have discussions about how to apply the lessons learned in the meetings to their internships and future careers. Former Massachusetts governor and 2020 presidential candidate Deval Patrick will join the fellows at the first meeting, on June 4.

The Civic Action Project was founded by former state senator George Bachrach; Steve Crosby, who served as secretary of administration and finance to Governor Paul Cellucci and founding chair of the Mass. Gaming Commission; Ira Jackson, who was Massachusetts commissioner of revenue; and Judith Young, an attorney with a background in social justice, consumer protection and legislative policymaking.

“Real civic engagement must not be merely in the purview of government and organized advocacy groups alone,” the founders say in CAP’s mission statement. “It must also include a new generation of leaders from business, labor, academia, community organizations and the media. This new generation must learn the practical skills needed to access and influence the intersection between policy and politics, business and government, civic engagement versus antipathy.”

This year’s internships and other programming will take place remotely to comply with social distancing protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.