Student Story

Kylie Collins '22, '23MPP on Truth, Activism, and Leadership at Simmons

Tell us about being selected to participate in the Ifill Forum.

I’m incredibly honored. Being selected for the Ifill Forum was completely unexpected and so exciting! I still don’t know who recommended me, but I know Professor Griffith, the panel moderator, reached out to the Political Science Department, and my name was brought up. Participating in this panel was such a humbling experience because I have so much respect for Robin Roberts and Kevin Merida. To be considered and have the opportunity to offer my thoughts was surreal.

Tell us about your takeaways from this experience.

I remember Robin mentioned that “success leaves clues.” That phrase stuck out to me.I have high hopes for what I could pursue after graduation, and have drawn inspiration from numerous female leaders. Learning about their career paths and the obstacles  they had to overcome provides insight into how I should navigate my career and what type of person I could grow into along the way. It’s also clear that Gwen Ifill made as much of an impact on our panelists as she did on the Simmons community, so it was awesome to hear more about her legacy and the ways she continues to shape journalists today.

How do you think Simmons students will carry on Gwen Ifill's legacy and impact the world?

Gwen Ifill’s legacy of truth, activism, and leadership continue to permeate the academic environment at Simmons, whether it be in a Boston Course, Leadership Class, or through various leadership opportunities presented by student organizations. Gwen believed in the power of a story and communicating with authenticity, and I hope Simmons students look to learn from each other’s experiences, and walk through life as our most authentic selves. Our stories truly can change this world for the better.

Tell us about your position as a policy intern for Boston Public Schools.

This summer, I was a Policy Intern for the Senior Advisor to the Superintendent at Boston Public Schools. I researched and reviewed classroom assistance and service dog policies, developed a resource bank for every school in the district, and worked on a project to develop the district’s brand and increase parent engagement.

In high school, I worked for an education consulting firm and crossed paths with Superintendent Cassellius. Last spring, I reached out to see if there were any opportunities to work with the district over the summer. As policy intern, I was able to learn from multiple women with extensive experience in intergovernmental relations and contribute to a governmental body directly impacting those around me.

What did you learn from this experience?

This internship taught me about political communications and intergovernmental relations. A lot of things are dependent on action at City Hall, not just at the district level. It was exciting to directly apply what I was learning in classes to my internship by researching policies that could actually be passed and implemented. As a result of the pandemic, the services public schools provide has expanded greatly. It was rewarding to work within a district that was employing every resource possible to offer students and families the support they needed.

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