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2023 UPPF Research Symposium: Advancing Policy Formulation Through Research – Recap

Check out the 2023 UPPF Symposium recap video!

As always for me, the 2023 UPPF Research Symposium demonstrated the potential for student research to generate valuable insights and recommendations on public policy issues. The session featured poster presentations by the 18 UPPF fellows of the 2022-2023 cohort. When hearing the presentations given by the fellows and reading over the posters they’ve prepared, I am often struck by the depth of knowledge the fellows have developed on their policy topic of interest and, most remarkably, by their conclusions -- many of which are offered as policy recommendations. For example, Melodie Slaughter’s poster entitled “I am They, They are Me: The American Case for Data Disaggregation in the Black Community” demonstrates the need to fill this gap via data disaggregation of residents’ ethnic identifiers to offer more targeted policy solutions towards targeted communities.

The whole exercise of creating a poster from doing the background research, to designing their poster, to preparing a concise presentation on the issue, is all really a great demonstration of their leadership potential. Our intent with the UPPF program is that fellows have through their internship, seminars, and culminating in their poster presentation, an opportunity to start to frame the type of engaged citizen and ultimately leader that they want to be.  UPPF Fellows learn that leadership can take multiple forms, whether you organize and lead a protest, or you conduct research that helps address health disparities, or you advocate for legislative policy changes to improve k-12 education, you are extending your role as an engaged citizen to promote change.

Please check out our video on the symposium or review the posters our Fellows prepared to see what happens when college students are given the opportunity and support needed to begin their leadership journeys. I think you will see why I am more hopeful than ever about this generation’s preparation to tackle the serious challenges of our future.