For the second straight year, a BCSSW student has been awarded a prestigious Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellowship for the upcoming summer. This year, that student is Kaiti Jones, a first-year MSW candidate who will be working with Boston Mayor Walsh’s Office of Resilience & Racial Equity during a paid 10-week summer internship.
“I’ve served on the advisory council of the Rappaport Institute since 2009,” says BCSSW Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing. “It is incredibly gratifying to see Kaiti standing with the other fellows. BCSSW has long believed social work belongs at the table with other disciplines in solving our most intractable problems. Kaiti has earned her seat at that table alongside students in public policy, urban planning, and law, to name a few. She does us proud here at Boston College, and she does her profession proud.”
Jones will work directly with newly-named Chief Resilience Officer S. Atyia Martin, who is also the former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission. Jones will focus her energies on driving forward community-led initiatives through Martin’s office, which is part of an international initiative from the Rockefeller Foundation called “100 Resilient Cities.”
“One of my main goals will be to meet with the residents of various Boston communities in order to determine better ways to involve the voice of the public in the process of maximizing collective, and positive, impact,” explains Jones. “I’ll also spend critical time as part of a group tasked with addressing the systemic racial inequities that plague the city of Boston, towards building a more just city.”
Jones is an experienced community organizer, having served as the North Cambridge site director for the non-profit Soccer Nights, a free neighborhood summer soccer clinic designed to promote athletic skill, leadership development, and citywide unity. In North Cambridge, the program also plays an integral role in the successful integration of various immigrant populations; immigrant integration is a field of practice that is especially interesting to Jones.
In addition to providing on-the-ground training, the Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for students from various schools around the city to share ideas, and pursue collaborative initiatives to build a better City of Boston. Jones recently met the fellow members of her cohort, which comprises 12 students from various schools in the Boston area, including Harvard, MIT, and Brandeis. The group represents a wide array of fields, from law to business to medicine to sociology. Jones is the only social worker in the cohort.
Last year, Alexandra Rabasco was the first ever BC Social Work student to be awarded a Rappaport Fellowship, which is housed at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.