UIC graduate student Mallory Traver was sitting in class one day when a fellow from the Chicago Office of the Mayor visited to talk their experience in the fellowship program. Traver applied on a whim, knowing that about 600 people across the country apply for 25 positions.
For the application process, Traver was required to submit a policy proposal, and she focused hers on how Chicago Public Schools (CPS) could improve technical training.
When she received the call she had been accepted into the competitive summer fellowship program, tears of joy ran down her face.
Traver worked on an variety of projects, such as developing a strategic plan for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services workforce. The project allowed her to pursue her passion of helping Chicago communities, while also giving her the opportunity to work with local government.
“I was able to do things that I normally would not have the opportunity to do in my life,”said Traver, a master’s student in public administration, who was asked to continue her fellowship this fall.
Some of the highlights of the program included walking on the new runway at O’Hare International Airport, going on a tour of the 30,000 cameras Chicago has across the city, and having coffee with City Clerk Anna Valencia.
In addition to the fellowship, Traver juggled work and summer classes. This was not without difficulty, but she now has a better understanding of what she wants in a career, such as the opportunity to mentor others and work with both sides of the political spectrum.
Almost a year later, Traver headed back to the same class where she learned about the fellowship, but this time she was the one inspiring the next group of potential applicants.
“It’s all about the people you know,” Traver said.