Alexia Carrillo: 2022 Policy Pitch Competition

September 6, 2022 0:03:10
Kaltura Video

Alexia Carrillo delivers her pitch about her experience at the Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) during the 2022 Policy Pitch Competition.


I'm the first in my family

to pursue post-secondary

I was raised by a single
immigrant parent.

And although my
mother highlighted

the importance of
higher education,

she didn't have the resources to

guide me on the path to college.

With few resources, I
wonder how I would make it.

My dreams of making
my family proud

became real the day I went to
a local Boys and Girls Club

and one of my counselors sat
me down and walked me through

the steps of applying to

community college
and financial aid.

It wasn't until Community
College for me,

where I received the level of
support that was unmatched

and I found a passion for
helping students like me.

My experience navigating
college as a first-generation,

low-income and system
impacted student gave

me the perspective that they
were critical things that

make it difficult
for students to seek

higher education: accessibility,
and affordability.

Throughout the
summer, I was able to

expand my knowledge in
both of these areas.

I had the opportunity
to intern at

the postsecondary national
policy institute.

Their goals are to provide
summer scholars with

opportunities to build

their knowledge base
in higher education,

federal policy, and build
their professional networks.

I worked on many
projects that honed

in on my skills
such as research,

writing and data analysis.

One of my projects I
worked on was updating

fact sheets that are
posted on their website.

This included Latino students,

first-generation, and
immigrant students.

These fact sheets highlighted

diverse student populations and

provided a lens of
enrollment rates,

degree attainment, and barriers

faced in higher education.

These are usually
used for referencing,

drafting bills, institutions,
or other organizations.

At the Ford school, I learned

the importance of writing
and being clear and concise.

I found this to be
critical because I had

to make sure I could
interpret the data,

provide clear information,

and translate that in order

for people to make
informed decisions

on education policy that impact
the student populations.

This project spoke to me the

most because I felt a
personal connection.

I came into this experience
with limited knowledge.

One of my main objectives
was to learn about

the federal policy process

and how that looks like in
the space of education.

I was amazed to receive

the level of support
my team offered,

not only to get projects done,

but to make sure that I had
a transformative experience,

they focused on building
my professional network,

which allowed me to meet
so many professionals

in the education community.

I had the chance to
live in Washington DC

and discover the opportunities
that city had to offer.

I also had the support of

the leadership coaching program,

which allowed me to
build my confidence

when experiencing
impostor syndrome.

And most importantly,
learned more

about my passion for education,

my team created
an environment of

growth, encouragement
and inspiration.

Moving forward, I want
to continue supporting

students from historically
marginalized communities.

And ensure students
not only gain

access to higher education,

but also receive the full benefits

throughout and beyond
their studies.