Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

Urban Studies Fellow Introduction | Shelby S., Class of 2015

My name is Shelby and I’m one of the 2013 Urban Studies Fellows! I’m so excited to kick off my blog-writing experience and to be partnering with Stanford’s Urban Studies Department to make such a wonderful opportunity possible. Just to share a bit about myself:

  • I am a rising junior.
  • I’m majoring in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity with a thematic focus in Education, Access, and Equity. I’ll minor in Spanish Language.
  • I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • On campus I’ve lived in Ujamaa and Castaño.
  • I went abroad to Santiago, Chile in Winter 2013.
  • I love to travel and have been to France, Italy, Malta, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and all over the United States!

The “I Have A Dream” Foundation: New York Metro Area

Urban education—more specifically youth empowerment and the disparities that exist in income level at the most competitive universities—is something I am passionate about. I’ve dedicated so much of my time on campus to better understanding and combatting the issue, and I plan to continue my work once classes are over. In the past I’ve worked with Expanding College Opportunities, a research project that gained national recognition on the front page of The New York Times and in Congressional talks. I also work in outreach for The Phoenix Scholars, a student group on campus that assists low income, first generation, and minority students in California with the college matriculation process. For the next eight weeks I’ll be working with The “I Have A Dream” Foundation in the heart of New York City. This education non-profit seeks to enable youth from underserved communities across the nation in their quest for higher education. The mission of the program is to uplift these students and support them in the pursuit of a college education by offering “a dynamic, long-term program of mentoring, tutoring, and enrichment with an assured opportunity for higher education.”

Beginning in early elementary school a class of 50-100 students from an under-resourced public school or housing project is formed. The program—mentors, staff, tutors, etc.—works with these students, fostering their growth and promoting their educational and personal development until high school graduation. Upon graduating, each student is guaranteed tuition assistance to attend the college or university of their choice. This phenomenal model of broad education reform and resource distribution was designed to enrich the students’ academic performance and social skills.  The program operates year-round and has particular need for assistance during the summer months.

By working at their central offices in the New York City metro area, I’ll have the opportunity to gain practical work place skills, interact with students of all ages, and develop the organization’s resource guides. Secretarial work in collaboration with the professionals from the organization as well as direct contact with the students promises to be rewarding. I stand to gain experience, an entirely new skillset, and the opportunity to see the inner workings of a well-run nonprofit organization.

The City That Never Sleeps

Outside of work, I try to find time to explore. I’ve already had a chance to visit the Brooklyn Bridge, venture through Times Square, and enjoy a free music concert on the Northside of Brooklyn. There’s always something new and exciting happening in the city and I will certainly be taking advantage of that fact… as soon as I get used to the subway system and humid heat!




That’s all I’ve got for now, but I will be writing weekly to keep you all updated.


For more information on The “I Have A Dream” Foundation visit their website or leave a comment below!


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