At the end of each academic year, Up to Us invites current participants and alumni from our national Campus Competition to apply for our Civic Engagement Fellowship. This competitive fellowship helps to financially support stand-out members of the Up to Us community who are pursuing low or no-wage internships in topics related to civic engagement, and economic/fiscal policy issues. Five applicants are accepted and provided a stipend so they can focus on succeeding in their internships, gaining new professional skills, and connecting with colleagues and mentors in their chosen fields.
Meet our 2021 Fellows and learn more about what they will be up to this summer:
Internship: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Bleck is a graduate student at North Dakota State University pursuing a dual master’s degree in Agriculture/Biosystems Engineering and Public Policy. Bleck decided to enroll in this type of graduate study after his participation in the Up to Us competition in 2020 ignited his zeal to engage in public policy development that turns to affect current and future generations. Career-wise, Bleck aspires to use his background in engineering and new skills during his postgraduate study to become a policy consultant for Non-Government Organizations working for social justice and/or lobbying lawmakers and government agencies for policy changes with regards to a sustainable financial future for all.
This summer Bleck will be interning with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) where he seeks to strengthen his understanding of the economics around the federal budget including its expenditure/revenue streams and also partake in laying out constructive strategies to safeguard the essence of financial literacy among the youthful population.
Internship: Citizens’ Climate Education
Elizabeth is a Master’s student at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Her internship this summer will be with Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE). CCE’s mission is to create the political will for a sustainable climate and to empower individuals to have breakthroughs in exercising their personal and political power. CCE is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with educational programs. This summer Elizabeth will help to unify digital actions and communications across chapters, including focusing on social media and websites as well as generating content, planning outreach events, diving into projects which tie fiscal and economic policies to climate change, and assisting analysts with the research and publication of climate white papers.
Internship: Office of Public Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
For the summer of 2021, Overpower was offered an internship position in the Office of Public Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture through the Smithsonian Institution. More specifically, he will be a marketing intern within this office. This includes but is not limited to research and implementation of new creative strategies for expanding social media outreach. The internship allows him to have an academic appointment that is similar to that of doing a research project with mentorship. With this academic appointment, he will be focusing on the wealth gap between the majority white population and that of my fellow brothers and sisters (African Americans). More specifically, he will look into how laws and policies (including fiscal policy) created over the years have historically impacted the minority groups as they were underrepresented in the law-making decisions. The idea behind digging into such topics is for the sole purpose of understanding the fundamentals of problems relating to wealth gaps, racial disparities, and personally, understanding the history of black people so it does not repeat itself in the form of economic colonization/slavery.
Internship: Office of U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff
Déja Daniel is a rising Sophomore majoring in Criminology and Spanish with a minor in Political Science at Howard University and currently holds a 3.9 GPA. Déja was actively involved on her campus as a freshman where she served on the Howard University Up to Us Team as the Media Engagement Specialist, the Howard University Model United Nations Team as an award-winning delegate, the Howard University Student Association as a Constitutional Review Committee Intern in the senate, and as a First-Year Associate in the Public Relations Department and the Finance Department. In addition to that, she is a member of the Howard Chapter of Her Campus’s Social Media team and the Mecca Made Professional Certification Program. Most recently, Déja was elected as the new Secretary of Revolt, Inc. where she dedicates her time to enrich the community, empower women, and educate the youth by also serving on the Public Relations, Events, and Community Service committees. This Summer, Déja is interning at the Office of U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff where she will be assisting caseworkers with the request from Georgia constituents while learning the ins and outs of a Congressional office. Déja aspires to become a bilingual criminal defense attorney and, ultimately, appointed as a judge to uphold the laws of the land for fair and equitable application.
Michael John Stefanko
Internship: Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY)
Michael John Stefanko is a Senior at Cornell University studying Industrial and Labor Relations. This summer he is working with Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY), a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services to individuals facing civil legal problems in Western New York. At LawNY, he will be working with a public benefits attorney to provide legal services to people engaging with the welfare system, as well as spending his time researching emergency shelters and housing, SNAP, and other issues directly related to homelessness and mental health services. Michael is an aspiring lawyer and public servant, and the fellowship will further his work in civic engagement, public service, and law.
You can follow our Fellows’ journeys throughout the summer on our blog and on our social feeds or sign up for our Up to Us newsletter.
To learn more about how you can get involved with the Up to Us Campus Competition and take part in all of Up to Us’s program offerings, visit: itsuptous.org.