Hartford, Connecticut, May 16, 2018 – In addition to the completion of her 121-page senior thesis and graduation from Trinity College coming up in just a few days, Haley Dougherty, Class of 2018, is celebrating having been awarded a prestigious New York City Urban Fellowship for 2018–19. She is one of 25 young women and men selected from approximately 300 applicants from around the nation to participate in the program, which describes itself as “designed to introduce America’s finest college students and graduates to local government and public service.”
New York City’s Urban Fellows Program is a highly selective, nine-month fellowship that combines work in mayoral offices and city agencies with volunteer service opportunities and a seminar series that explores current urban issues impacting public policy. In June, Dougherty will visit a range of New York City agencies to participate in extensive interviewing before receiving her fellowship assignment, to begin in September.
The daughter of a retired New York City firefighter, Dougherty said she learned early on the principles of civic responsibility and public service. During her college search, she knew she was interested in majoring in public policy and law. “I ended up picking Trinity partly because of its location in a capital city,” she said. “I was interested in government and saw there would be a lot of opportunities in Hartford for studying public policy.”
Her first-year seminar, “Slavery, Property, Piracy,” with Assistant Professor of Political Science Isaac Kamola, proved an ideal introduction to Hartford and its place in history. “We took the bus downtown to the Old State House, where we talked about Connecticut’s history right where it happened, including the Amistad [slave ship] case, which was tried in that courthouse in 1839.” In her second year at Trinity, she served as Kamola’s seminar mentor for the next group of first-year students taking the class.
Dougherty had valuable internship experiences, including serving as a legal intern at the downtown Hartford office of Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen during her sophomore year. She also spent summers at home on Long Island, completing internships with the Office of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.
On campus, she joined Trinity’s residentially based volunteer community, Praxis, working alongside fellow students and local residents to clean a nearby park and to build a home down the street with Habitat for Humanity. These volunteer experiences helped prepare her for an opportunity she pursued junior year while studying at England’s University of Oxford. There, she volunteered as a researcher at the OxPolicy think tank, helping evaluate international trials of the Housing First approach to tackling long-term homelessness. Back at Trinity this past fall, she became involved with the Trinity Homelessness Project, a group on campus that volunteers at a city emergency shelter.
Dougherty also logged many hours of research work, as a research assistant to professors in the Political Science and History Departments, and as a member of one of the first teams at the Liberal Arts Action Lab, a community-based program recently launched by Trinity with Capital Community College that is located at Trinity’s new downtown space at 10 Constitution Plaza.
“The ethos of the Action Lab is working with a community partner and producing something of value to the city and the city’s residents,” said Dougherty, whose team worked with City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez (Trinity alumna, Class of 2004), conducting surveys and focus groups and developing messaging around the program known as PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) to explain its benefits to both the city of Hartford and to all Connecticut residents. The team created a PILOT Messaging website to detail project goals, research methods, results, and proposed actions.
Dougherty noted that she had several interviews for job and fellowship opportunities in recent months and observed, “In every interview, I have talked about the Action Lab experience because with every position, they are seeking someone with proven experience working on a team.”
In preparing to begin her fellowship, Dougherty said she anticipates she will draw upon many of the lessons and experiences she has been engaged in during the past four years. She has exchanged emails and spoken by phone with Trinity alumna Salima Etoka, Class of 2015, a recent NYC Urban Fellow, who is now working as a program manager at an organization promoting affordable homeownership in New York City. Those conversations have further amplified Dougherty’s excitement about her post-graduation plans.
“The Urban Fellows Program offers a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the realities of public service,” said Dougherty. “I believe that government policies represent a society’s conscience, and local government often has the most immediate impact on the lives of its constituents. I can’t wait to begin this fellowship.”
Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1823, Trinity College (www.trincoll.edu) is an independent, nonsectarian liberal arts college with more than 2,200 students from 45 states and 67 countries. It is home to the eighth-oldest chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in the United States. The faculty and alumni include recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur award, Guggenheims, Rockefellers, and other national academic awards. Trinity students integrate meaningful academic and leadership experience at all levels on the college’s celebrated campus, in the capital city of Hartford, and in communities all over the world.