Thursday, March 17, 2022

Top Scholar selected to attend prestigious Harvard conference

Top Scholar selected to attend prestigious Harvard conference

FEBRUARY 6, 2020 — UTSA sociology major Josh Peck ’22 has been selected one of 76 students nationally to attend the Harvard Public Policy Leadership Conference at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Over 700 students nationwide applied for the conference, which will take place in this month.

The conference is for first- and second-year undergraduate students who are passionate about public service and being a strong voice in their community. Students attending the conference demonstrate their involvement in areas such as student leadership, volunteering in the community or engaging in activism.

The conference introduces students to the study of public policy on the graduate level as well as orient them toward career opportunities in areas such as nongovernmental organizations, international institutions and social enterprises.


“I know Josh will represent UTSA well at this conference.”

KRISTI MEYER, Director of UTSA's Top Scholar Program



Kristi Meyer, director of the Top Scholar Program, noted how Peck will benefit by attending the conference: “Josh is a constant achiever with an exceptional aptitude, budding leadership skills and a passion for social justice, making him an excellent fit for this program. I know Josh will represent UTSA well at this conference and am excited to see the new skills and increased network he will bring back from this experience.”

In his application Peck related his desire to enter the field of journalism, where he hopes to serve the public by writing about complex social and political issues. He related that “journalists must have a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of public policy and its development” so that they can educate people to participate civically. To Peck, the press is an “integral piece” of both the policymaking process and the American democratic process.

“As someone who is pursuing a career in news journalism, a well-rounded understanding of public policy is central to doing my job well,” he said. “Public policy is also something that intrigues me and that I have been interested in for years, and the Harvard Kennedy PPLC is the perfect place to learn more about it from speakers and the peers that will be alongside me. I like puzzles, and if you think about it, developing policy is kind of like a puzzle. What are the best ways to configure the pieces in order to come up with a solution? During my short time at the conference, I really want to learn more about the depth of public policy and the range of issues it can be used to address.”


Explore UTSA’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards and the Honors College.


At UTSA, Peck is getting his first experience in journalism as a staff writer for The Paisano and this summer he will travel to Prague, Czech Republic, to attend a study-abroad program on communications, new media and journalism.

Peck has participated in other UTSA programs where he has demonstrated leadership. He attended the Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience, an immersion program that traveled across six different states in the Southeast and culminating in the MLK March in San Antonio. He is also involved with the Hunger and Homelessness Movement on campus, Good Samaritans on Campus, and completed an internship as an issue advocate with MOVE Texas, a group committed to increasing civic engagement among young people and underrepresented populations in Texas.

“Being a part of the Top Scholar program has also taught me a lot about leadership. My program director, Kristi Meyer, has encouraged me to take leadership roles in the organizations that I am a part of, like The Paisano, and she has also pushed me to become a greater leader within the Top Scholar program, especially for younger students. I’ve been able to learn a lot from other Top Scholars that I consider personal mentors about what it takes to be an effective leader.”

Last year UTSA sophomore and Top Scholar Ileen Montemayor also was selected by the Kennedy School to attend the conference.

Andrew Chapman


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