As an intern in the Policy and Program Studies Service office within the U.S. Department of Education, current University of Maryland School of Public Policy student Laura Checovich is getting to learn first-hand about education policymaking. Her internship is being funded by the SPP Internship Program. Each semester, the SPP Internship Program provides compensation to full-time graduate students for unpaid internships.
Checovich is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree with a specialization in education policy at the School of Public Policy. “As someone who has long been interested in the ins and outs of education policymaking, an internship in the Department of Education is a great fit,” she says. “The office is charged with doing quick turnaround work, connecting high-quality research to the policy ideas of the day. When the political offices of the department are interested in a hot new idea that is in the education field, they turn to Policy and Program Studies Service for an understanding of the research and evidence about the policy of practice.”
She adds that the work done within the Policy and Program Studies Service Office is closely linked to the work of the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. “My day-to-day work involves receiving direction on what the policy interest of the week is and then going to work identifying high-quality research on that topic,” she says. “Briefs are compiled on the different issues and then reported out to the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.”
My courses have given me a background in education policy issues, given me an understanding of the policymaking process and the realities of policymaking, as well as helped me be able to quickly identify high-quality research.Laura Checovich SPP Student
“Everyone has been very open to working with both me and the other intern in the office,” she says. “Because there is so much work to be done, they have been eager to teach us as much as they can so that we can get to work and add value to the team.”
Checovich also says her work at SPP helped to prepare her for the internship. “My courses have given me a background in education policy issues, given me an understanding of the policymaking process and the realities of policymaking, as well as helped me be able to quickly identify high-quality research,” she says. “All of these skills are critical to being successful at the Policy and Program Studies Service Office.”
She notes that she has high hopes for the rest of the summer internship. “I hope to gain a deeper understanding of policy issues in education and the role that research plays in creating the best possible policies,” Checovich says. “I also hope to meet people who are familiar with this space in policymaking and to learn from them the best ways to make an impact on the field.”
- Social Policy