Katie Kalugin has always been interested in women’s adversity. But it wasn’t until she enrolled at Northeastern University that she took a deep dive into issues directly impacting women—from the gender wage gap to learning the ins and outs of training women for public office.
In the classroom, Kalugin, a student in the Master of Public Policy, acquired data analysis skills and learned to develop appropriate policy responses to complex problems as well as to evaluate program impact. She then applied this theory to effect change in Boston as an intern at Emerge Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify, train and inspire women to pursue public office.
Kalugin spent last summer compiling year-end evaluations and running Emerge MA’s alumnae engagement program. She said the internship has made her think more about how to create effective and viable policies that target the root causes of issues, rather than alleviate problems temporarily or reactively.
“Interning with Emerge Massachusetts affirmed an idea I have always thought a lot about pertaining to the role of nonprofit organizations in social change,” said Kalugin, who is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy and Social Change. “With any social movement, the involvement of all sectors and groups is needed to truly garner the attention of the public, elected officials, and other policymakers. Without a unified front, issues get lost or lack political will.”
According to Ryanne Olsen, executive director of Emerge MA and a Northeastern alumna, Kalugin “brilliantly condensed difficult concepts into digestible material.” (To learn more about Kalugin’s internship experience, read her blog, Chronicles of a Nonprofit Intern.)
Following her summer internship, Kalugin was still hungry for more hands-on experience. She applied to and qualified for a four-month internship with the Boston Women’s Workforce Council (BWWC) in fall 2017 where she assisted with writing and editing BWWC’s 2017 report on the status of the gender wage gap in greater Boston and what employers can do to close it. The report features first-of-its-kind wage data from real employers, broken down by race and gender. It analyzes data from 114 companies and 166,000 employees—representing $15 billion in annual earnings and 16 percent of the greater Boston workforce.
“That’s a direct example of learning in the classroom and then applying my report-writing skills for an organization,” Kalugin said. “They released the report in January and it was really cool to see it.”
MaryRose Mazzola, executive director of BWWC, said Kalugin conducted background research on what other states and cities are doing to address pay equity, with details on the political feasibility and business community support behind each policy, initiative, or law. “We continue to use this tool as we share the Boston Model with dozens of other cities across the U.S. and Canada,” said Mazzola.
Now, Kalugin has accepted a part-time position with EMPath whose mission is to help women and their families achieve economic independence. She is providing internal evaluation support, assisting with survey development, administration and analysis, as well as coordinating the distribution of quantitative and qualitative data internally for the organization.
After graduation in May, Kalugin wants to pursue research-based work or to conduct program evaluations for a nonprofit, think tank, or a government agency. Her research interests include women’s issues, poverty alleviation, and housing.
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