Please introduce yourself (name, year, concentration, activities you participated in at Heller, what you are doing now):
Pem Brown, 2011, poverty alleviation (plus joint M.A. in women’s and gender studies). Now I work at M+R helping national non-profits run digital fundraising and advocacy programs.
What were you doing before you came to Heller?
I spent three years working at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, a reproductive rights non-profit in Boston, doing fundraising and communications. I also spent time volunteering for various progressive political campaigns around the state.
Why did you decide to come to Heller?
I was really drawn to the social justice orientation of the school and program, plus I was really excited for the joint women’s and gender studies degree.
What are some of the classes/activities that really enjoyed at Heller?
I took an amazing interdisciplinary course during my first year through the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies called Gender and Poverty in the United States. My final semester, I took a course called Legitimizing (In)equality: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Social Policy, which focused on how issues of poverty have been framed in political and media discourse in the United States. I also helped plan the annual DC spring break trips, which were a lot of fun.
Can you say a little about where you were and what you did for your summer internship?
I knew after Heller, I wanted to stay in Boston, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to spend my summer internship somewhere else working on national policy. I lived in DC and interned at the National Partnership for Women and Family. I got to focus on work/family policy, which was what I had been studying at Heller.
How do you use the skills you learned at Heller in your profession?
So much of what I do at M+R is to help boil down complicated political and policy issues to get people to take action, whether that be donating or contacting their elected officials. While writing for the digital space is quite different than the long research papers that are staples of most of Heller’s courses, the program’s emphasis on clear and concise writing continues to serve me well. Also, having an understanding of statistical significance is helpful for analyzing the email and web tests we run for our clients.