The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Internship Spotlight: Brad Riley, Office of State Sen. Jo Comerford

headshot of Brad Riley

Degree and graduation year: Master of Public Policy and Administration, 2022

Where I interned: Office of Massachusetts state State Sen. Jo Comerford

What I did there: I wrote letters of testimony for housing and public health legislation as well as co-wrote the final report for the Joint Committee on COVID-19 & Emergency Preparedness & Management on the Vaccine Rollout and Emergency Response.

The most important thing I learned: All the SPP required courses fully prepared me to be an effective intern on Beacon Hill. I was so nervous at first, but the tasks I was assigned required the same skills as SPP final projects.

The most challenging part of my internship: The most challenging part was reading the Report of the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke COVID-19 Outbreak to learn how to write effective committee reports. Also, hosting a Zoom testimony from the anti-vaccine community until well past midnight was physically and emotionally demanding.

What surprised me the most: Seeing my written words on official memos, testimonies, and Senate correspondences. It reaffirmed that I really can do this work!

Why I’m studying public policy: To use the positional and relational tools of public leadership roles to disrupt systemic cycles of poverty.

Future plans: I want to work for an organization like the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission that brings together regional communities to solve complex social problems.

About the School of Public Policy: Established in 2016, the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy prepares students for leadership in public service. The program’s focuses include social change and public policy related to science and technology.

Contact: Maureen Turner, associate director for marketing and communications, School of Public Policy

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