From Aspiration to Reality: My Journey as a Policy Analyst Intern 

 Jiaxi Lin, SP2 Masters in Social Policy and Data Analytics, 2023

Embarking on a journey to become a research analyst at a non-profit think tank has long been a cherished aspiration of mine. This summer, the dream evolved into tangible reality as I stepped into the role of a summer analyst intern at Research for Action. The experience that unfolded not only met my expectations but also exceeded them, leaving me enriched in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

My journey at Research for Action over the past months has been one of immense fulfillment and purpose. It marked my initiation into the world of non-profit think tanks, offering me the opportunity to actively contribute to local education policy research and evaluation. This immersion provided me with a profound insight into the education field I’m passionate about and unveiled the intricate web of societal inequalities woven within education policies. The chance to contribute to the noble pursuit of promoting social equality has been a truly gratifying experience. 

I also consider myself fortunate to have encountered such friendly and supportive mentor and team members. I’ve learned a great deal from them. From the outset of my internship, my mentor assisted me in formulating and refining my internship goals and expectations, helping me translate each objective into actionable plans. Progressing from guided data analysis to independently managing complex data tasks, I felt a profound sense of personal growth and accomplishment. Moreover, throughout the internship, I had opportunities to delve deep into various education policies of Pennsylvania, immersing myself in relevant literature and reports. Engaging in discussions with experienced senior researchers equipped me with practical insights and knowledge. 

Furthermore, I had the chance to interact with different senior members of the team. They were incredibly enthusiastic about engaging with interns, allowing me to learn about their life stories, career trajectories, hobbies, and more. Many of them became friends, enriching my experience in Philadelphia and providing me with clearer insights into my future career path. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again after my graduation. Additionally, the exposure to different working and networking scenarios has considerably refined my communication skills. 

In conclusion, my time at Research for Action has been a transformative experience that has enriched my knowledge, skills, and connections. I’m thankful for the opportunity to contribute to meaningful research and to have learned from inspiring mentors and colleagues. This experience solidified my commitment to pursuing a career dedicated to education and policy research, and I look forward to the potential collaborations that lie ahead. 

I am grateful for the support from the GAPSA summer funding, which enabled me to focus more on my professional development. 

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 GAPSA Summer Internship Funding Program that is coordinated by Penn Career Services. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

By Career Services
Career Services