UTC Alumna Jillian Pennyman ’10, ’12 has been chosen for the Betty Jane Narver Policy Fellowship for 2013 – 2014. Pennyman received both a B.S. and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from UTC. She is pursuing the Master’s in Education Policy.
The Washington State Budget & Policy Center sponsors the fellowship which is designed to provide a unique opportunity for future policy leaders. It is open to any currently enrolled graduate student or recent graduate with a commitment to social justice, facility with quantitative analysis, a desire to understand policy making, and a strong interest in pursuing a career involving policy analysis.
Pennyman is a research consultant in the Center for Community Career Education, located on the UTC campus. Pennyman is credited with improving the Postsecondary Awareness With Success (PAWS) curriculum and she conducted research in the program, geared toward helping elementary-age students explore their postsecondary options.
“I was thrilled when Jillian got this fellowship because it’s going to give her the opportunity to see policy from a different perspective than the program operation part of it,” said Sandy Cole, Executive Director, Center for Community Career Education at UTC. “She has seen the programmatic side of education policy development, but she hasn’t seen the decision making side of it. And so the fellowship will give her the opportunity to learn that side of it both at the state and local level.”
During the fellowship Pennyman will have the opportunity to do research and analysis and gain first-hand experience into the role research and advocacy plays in creating policy change. The Budget & Policy Center will offer intensive one-on-one mentorship with the Executive Director Remy Trupin.
“In my work at PAWS, I learned that there’s no fiscal allocation for early education collegiate awareness. I thought ‘how can I work to write policy to help programs like PAWS get funding?’” Pennyman said. “Once I receive my Master’s Degree in August, I hope to work to further the national conversation about early collegiate education. I’m interested in getting involved with advocacy and accountability to make sure students don’t fall through the cracks and are college ready.”
Pennyman will have the chance to work with groups from grass roots organizations to lobbyists in Olympia. She will also be working on publications with the Center and she will attend a conference in Washington D.C. in December. She will have a chance to make a difference for vulnerable families and communities by advancing pragmatic policy proposals.
“Jillian is one of those people that you just turn loose,” said Cole. “She is so creative, competent, skillful, and has a good background in Education from here at UTC. She is a remarkable young woman and I hope someday we’re able to have her back in Chattanooga on the policy side of things!”