Internship field report, Preston Parish @ Michigan Governor's Office, Lansing

August 15, 2017

Preston Parish (MPP '18) is submitting this field report from his summer 2017 internship at the Executive Office of the Governor of Michigan, Lansing, where he worked in the Office of Strategic Policy.

The Office of Strategic Policy in the Executive Office of the Governor is responsible for the conception and implementation of the governor's policy objectives. During my internship, these objectives included environmental justice and infrastructure asset management, two areas that occupied most of my time. My tasks were largely centered around conducting research on best practices to inform decisions related to these issues.

For example, around environmental justice, I analyzed Michigan community-level environmental justice data and indicators to determine issues and geographies of concern and mapped out data using GIS software to visualize and present findings to a state-convened work group. Through my findings, I informed work group processes and determined locations where initial efforts would be implemented. Around asset management, I led and orchestrated research interviews with subject matter experts and wrote and presented research memos to senior-level management.

In addition to working on big policy initiatives, I peppered in one-on-ones with a number of state employees and sat in on meetings where the state convened a whole host of different stakeholders. And though I lacked a familiarity with state government before this internship, my time with the Office of Strategic Policy was a truly unique opportunity to meet with folks who do have this familiarity and to gain insight into how government operates, who are the movers and shakers, and how policies are prioritized. It was an eye-opening experience and has helped to inform my future career goals.

Preston Parish (MPP '18) holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan's Program in the Environment (PITE), with a specialization in conservation biology. Prior to matriculating at the Ford School, he worked in the education space, addressing the student achievement gap and barriers to postsecondary education institutional success. Parish is interested in exploring program evaluation and management and policies at the intersection of environmental sustainability and food security.