DRC Summer Fellowship Personal Statement

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I’m thrilled to submit an application for the Mathematica Summer Experiential Learning Fellowship in Disability Policy Research since it will give me the knowledge and abilities to significantly advance my professional objectives. At the XXX, I am a first-year doctorate student in the XXXX program. I have been involved in supporting persons with disabilities for the past ten years in a variety of jobs and throughout five states. My primary career aim of bridging the research-practice gap in special education and disability services has been reached as a result of my transition from the classroom to research and academia. I can bring a wealth of clinical and academic knowledge to this fellowship, and Mathematica’s advice would be invaluable in helping me advance my career by honing my policy research abilities.
After graduating from college, I worked in two private schools for kids with special needs. As a result of the very different techniques used in these two institutions, I became aware of the inequities in service delivery. I’ve read a ton of important research findings, but I seldom see them put into practice; somewhere down the line, they get lost before they can reach the individuals whose lives they may change. This, in my opinion, is an unfairness, and it sparked my interest in possible legislative measures to address it. Because of my interest, I was offered a research fellowship at the XXX, where I served as the principal investigator for a pediatric autism protocol.

At the XXX, I later earned my Master of Education with a specialty in school psychology. As a policy fellow at the autism center, I looked into how federal stimulus funds could be used to increase employment for young adults with autism while conducting background research for the director.
Following completion of my master’s, I interned in government relations at XXX, where I teamed up with the senior policy adviser to advocate on both the national and state levels. Next, I reviewed specific studies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress with the XXX (NAEP). I have always desired to use my clinical research expertise and my in-depth understanding of special education and disability studies to study policy concerns, but I haven’t yet had the chance to undertake formal policy research.

The transition for those with autism out of high school is a major topic in which I am interested. In the XXX department, I am a graduate research assistant. In a class I co-teach for undergraduates, we work with local high school students with disabilities to explore and make plans for life after high school using the XXX program.
I would have the chance to research how socioeconomic status (SES) affects the caliber and availability of transition services for people with autism through this summer fellowship at Mathematica. According to anecdotal evidence, I have hypothesized why transition for people with autism presents specific difficulties, especially for those who have limited financial resources. I’m looking forward to working with the Mathematica researchers to apply rigorous research standards to examining the phenomena I’ve seen and figuring out how SES and autism transition programs actually interact.
In order to achieve my professional goal of bridging the research-practice gap, I would be able to combine what I have already learned and further examine the relationship between policy, scientific research, and education with the aid of this opportunity at Mathematica.


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