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Co-op Spotlight: Katie Wolfendale

Harvard Kennedy School Logo
Harvard Kennedy School Logo

During her eight-month co-op at the Harvard Kennedy School within the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) team, Katie Wolfendale underwent a transformative journey.

“One of my favorite things about this co-op was that its main focus was on international and global development and policies. This was very different from previous experiences, which mainly had a local scope or sometimes a national focus.”

– Katie Wolfendale, Political Science and Human Services, Northeastern University

Co-op Term: Fall 2022
Position:  Policymaker Capacity Building Co-op
Employer: Harvard Kennedy School, Evidence for Policy Design Training Team

Initially, EPoD operated as a unified entity, but organizational changes led to its division into two distinct units: the EPoD Research Team and the EPoD Training Team, where Katie found her place. Within the EPoD Training Team, Katie’s role was dynamic and multifaceted. Her responsibilities included standardizing training materials, event coordination, and providing customer service. The team’s overarching mission was to empower policymakers with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively harness data in their policy decisions. As her co-op progressed, Katie’s role evolved, granting her more independence. Nonetheless, she always had the invaluable support and guidance of her managers, Amelia and Charlotte.

Katie initially joined the co-op with the intention of exploring the interface between academia and policy while honing her research skills. Her immersion within the EPoD Training Team allowed her to gain insight into how policy decisions are shaped and executed. While her primary responsibilities did not encompass direct policy research, she actively engaged in desk research and had enlightening conversations with policymakers.

Throughout her co-op, Katie was pleasantly surprised by the supportive and passionate atmosphere at the Harvard Kennedy School. Despite her initial apprehensions due to the school’s prestigious reputation, she discovered that her colleagues were genuinely caring about their work and each other. This co-op marked Katie’s first in-person work experience, and she greatly appreciated the social events and networking opportunities that helped her build connections not only within her team but also across the institution.

Katie’s co-op was an enriching and transformative experience, equipping her with a diverse skill set and deep insights into the world of policy. She expressed deep gratitude for the support of her team and the invaluable lessons she learned during her time at the Harvard Kennedy School. Looking ahead with enthusiasm, Katie planned to continue her journey with the team in a part-time capacity, eager to further her learning and contribute to the team’s mission.

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