An Elsie Honors Scholar from the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics finished up an internship with the Consortium this month, saying the experience illuminated career options for her and is helping her consider one in particular.
Interested in equity issues when she joined us, Kayla Henderson says she now also feels drawn toward working directly with students.
“I knew that I wanted to work in educational equity, but I didn’t know what that looked like or even what my options would be,” she told staff during a debriefing on her experience. Henderson also recapped the project she undertook as part of the Elsie Honors Scholars Program, which is named and offered in honor of Elsie Hillman and her passion for civic engagement.
Intentional exposure across the Consortium’s full spectrum of programs “opened my eyes to the different ways you can work in educational equity,” Henderson said. It also helped her realize she found “the most fulfillment” working with students themselves, particularly around future readiness.
During her stay, Henderson undertook a project with students participating in the Future Readiness Lab, a pilot project launched last fall in collaboration with The Heinz Endowments. The Lab takes a novel approach to supporting diverse teams of students in gaining the personal insight needed to choose and plan satisfying post-secondary paths, while developing the soft skills needed for future success.
Henderson’s own project consisted of lesson plans and assignments aimed at helping students develop three critical leadership skills—communication, problem-solving and teamwork. She also created and executed assessments of the assignments.
Henderson found the Lab itself a great model.
“I really do love everything that the Lab touches upon,” she said, adding that the pilot’s focus on supporting students in projects aimed at changing their communities makes it unique and especially valuable.
Program Directors Christy Kuehn, PhD, and Jennifer Sethman, who organize programming for the Lab, both said working with an intern was invaluable.
“She provided another perspective,” from someone who is not far from the Lab students’ age, said Kuehn, noting that her presence helped students see the work they’re doing from the viewpoint of a near-peer.