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Archer Fellowship helps UTSA student prepare for career in public health policy

Archer Fellowship helps UTSA student prepare for career in public health policy

Spotlight on UTSA’s mission to create career-ready Roadrunners

FEBRUARY 15, 2024 — Public administration graduate student Janet N. Ekezie has been selected for the Graduate Archer Fellowship Program. The program will take Ekezie to Washington, D.C. this summer, where she will get an in-depth look at policymaking, history and advocacy. As a current employee of the San Antonio Area Foundation, she hopes to leverage the fellowship to learn more about public health policy, particularly mental health.

“I am really interested in mental health, particularly how those from underrepresented populations pursue mental health care,” she said. “I am Nigerian American, and people from my background or similar backgrounds may have difficulty pursuing mental health care because of stigma, coupled with difficulties in our current systems of diagnosis.”

Archer Fellows like Ekezie work full-time with offices and organizations in the nation’s capital. Students may choose their internships according to their professional goals and academic interests.

“I’m really looking forward to working with other inspired Fellows motivated to affect change.”

Janet N. Ekezie (left) currently works at the San Antonio Area Foundation.

The Graduate Archer Fellowship Program was established in 2010 by The University of Texas System to enable graduate and medical students who are interested in policy to learn about the federal government and public service in the nation’s capital.

Ekezie earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2018.

When it came time to consider where she wanted to advance her education, Ekezie chose UTSA. She wanted to be closer to her hometown and workplace.

Ekezie enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at UTSA in fall of 2023 and immediately knew it was the right fit for her. The graduate program is led by academics and practitioners who bring community-relevant research and public-sector experience to the classroom. Students learn policy implementation and how to apply theory to real-life scenarios.

“I really appreciate the organizational theory aspect and how it applies to real-world problems based in my career,” she said. “I also love the cohort that I entered in with. They are very supportive, kind, gracious and inspiring.”

In the coming months, Ekezie will take part in several interviews to determine her fellowship placement, while preparing a policy proposal in her preferred policy research area.

The Graduate Archer program is one of several hands-on learning programs offered by the UT System to help students prepare for successful careers. As part of its Classroom to Career initiative, UTSA aims to have 75% of its undergraduate students participate in some type of experiential learning by the time they graduate.

Ekezie’s fellowship will provide the practical experience that will help her distinguish herself. She is also looking forward to developing her professional and research skills through the Archer program.

“Having a diversity of experience in the group will contribute to better ideas,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to working with other inspired Fellows motivated to affect change.”

Amanda Cerreto

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