The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SPP Undergraduate Maya Couto Interns with MA Representative Dylan Fernandes

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This summer public policy undergraduate Maya Couto (‘25) is interning for the Office of Representative Fernandes in Massachusetts. For this role, Couto puts together press clippings, researches bills and their context, and compiles an intern research project to share with Representative Fernandes. 

When asked what she has learned so far this summer from the position, Couto shared, “The most important things that I have learned so far are the legislative processes behind bills and what an office of an elected official goes through to stay informed. There are many parts that play into this information which includes various modes of research.” Couto elaborated, “The most surprising thing is that [Rep. Fernandes’s office] is not a high-stress setting. My fellow interns and supervisor are incredibly helpful and understanding, so it facilitates a positive place to learn.” 

Couto is a member of SPP’s inaugural class of public policy undergraduates. When asked what prompted her to study policy and how her current internship supports her understanding of the field, Couto explained, “I am studying public policy because I want to play a role in changing the way our institutions or systems work to benefit the well-being of our societies. Public policy creates the groundwork for how to make these changes by understanding the legislative process. Also, public policy stretches over multiple domains, which is beneficial to someone like me who would like to be involved in multiple fields like the environment or criminal justice. My internship gives me the experience I need to be able to apply what I learn in the classroom to a real-world setting and to become familiar with what I may want to do after graduation.”

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