Children Now Insider: Meet Our 2020 Summer Fellows!

Meet our Summer Fellows!

Children Now® Insider: Stories, News, And Insights On Children’s Advocacy

For more information on our blog, contact Adrienne Bell at [email protected]

The Children Now team has grown this summer with the addition of seven Children’s Movement equity fellows – all of whom are working remotely – and we are thrilled to have them on board!  The Children’s Movement Equity Fellowship Program is open to college and graduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in government, advocacy or politics. The eight-week program provides fellows with an education on policy issues facing California children, exposure to a broad range of non-profit organizations through Children’s Movement recruitment activities, and skills-building in a professional environment.

Children Now Insider chatted with the fellows to learn a bit more about each of them – here’s what they had to say:

What do you hope to learn this summer?

Sydney Albert, a second-year student at Duke University, majoring in psychology and minoring in education

Besides working my way through books, I hope to become more invested in politics this summer. I’ve always been surrounded by it, living near Washington, D.C., but I want to follow it more closely, learn the nuances of issues that I am passionate about, and learn how to better advocate for change.

Anika Dandekar, a second-year student at UC San Diego, double majoring in public policy and economics

This summer I hope to learn about how to use grassroots organizing to make tangible, structural changes to a political system that too often prioritizes special interests over children and students. 

Rebecca Foley, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon, with a degree in family and human services and minors in nonprofit management and psychology

I hope to learn from the staff and other fellows, and especially to gain more knowledge about the power of grassroots organizations and policy in changing the lives of kids. I look forward to experimenting with different methods of outreach and simultaneously developing my own knowledge of issues related to equity.

Dylan Gervasio, a second-year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in global studies, and Spanish & Portuguese, and intending to minor in education

Personally, I know I want to work within the education realm, but I am not sure yet if I am leaning more towards working in the policy sector. Through Children Now, I want to learn about different policy areas, so I can develop a well-rounded, informed perspective on children’s issues and advocacy and see if it is something that I want to pursue in the future. I also hope to develop better communication skills and be able to gain transferable office skills that will not only make me a more marketable employee in the future, but that I can use to help the organizations that I am part of back home.

Rachel Kochhar, a master’s student at Claremont Graduate University, studying public health

I am excited about this summer! I hope to learn as much as I can about policy, The Children’s Movement and Children Now. I want to expand my knowledge on health policy, health care, advocacy and outreach. To narrow it down, I hope to learn how health policy works since that is a topic I don’t have much knowledge about. I hope to connect with everyone!

Simran Monder, a second-year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in public health, and minoring in global poverty and practice:

I have always been interested in children’s health and well-being, but this summer, I am excited to learn about how an organization is able to generate momentum and support for policies that can create long-term change. While I’ve been able to educate myself on issues surrounding children’s education, health, etc., I am ready to have a more active role in mitigating the challenges that children have in accessing resources. Through this fellowship, I’m hoping to learn how to be the best advocate I can be. I can’t wait to help further Children Now’s mission and learn about unique ways to go about making change.  

Katherine Wei, a second-year student at UC Berkeley, majoring in public health:

I hope to learn more about children’s issues and how the government, organizations and people are supporting them. I also aim to gain effective communication skills as I build relationships with diverse people and organizations. I ultimately hope to gain insight into how California’s health policies affecting children contribute to/alleviate health inequities to better inform me on my career path!


What surprised you the most about your college experience? How has the pandemic changed/affected college life?

Rebecca: I have been continuously amazed by the amazing scholars who surrounded me and the things they had already accomplished, and planned to accomplish to give back to various communities. The pandemic was an unfortunate end to my undergraduate career and left me without closure at the jobs, internship, and communities I had been a part of, but in turn, it has given me a new sense of gratitude for all the people and places I love so much. I will miss so much – the wonderful toddlers I worked with as a preschool teacher, my friends, and even the Oregon rain.


What was the last book that you read for fun? What’s next on your reading list?

Sydney: I love reading, and used all my free time when classes ended to catch up on my reading list. I just read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and loved it – I am now strongly encouraging the rest of my family to pick it up this summer. I also started a Jane Austen read-a-thon, where I hope to finish all her books this summer.

Anika: The last book I read for fun was Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates, in which she discusses The Gates Foundation’s work. She relays stories, many heart-wrenching to say the least, of women in rural communities around the world. She finds that all communities can be “lifted” by hearing and investing in women’s needs. I have been meaning to read Kite Runner for quite some time, so I think I will read that next!

Katherine: I just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a book about an autistic kid who goes on a search to find who killed his neighbor’s dog. It is a simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking story about childhood and growing up too fast, of fitting in and being different. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone wanting to explore their inner kid. Next on my list is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. From the two chapters I’ve read so far, it’s already proven to be a highly relevant discussion of systemic racism and what we can do to correct the biases within ourselves and in the people around us.


If you could wake up tomorrow with one superpower, what would it be and why?

Simran: If I could wake up with one superpower tomorrow, it would be the ability to know every language in the world. I’ve always found it incredible the sheer number of languages that exist, and how often a language barrier interferes with communicating with someone else. I think it would be interesting to be able to understand all individuals and not have difficulty in communication due to language alone.

Rachel: If I could wake up tomorrow with one superpower it would be to freeze time. I want to be able to pause time to cherish moments, to have a chance to breathe and do all of things I want to be doing. I wouldn’t want to freeze time for long intervals and would use this ability to benefit myself and others.

Dylan: I would want to wake up being able to teleport to anywhere that I desire. In a quarantine-free world, I wouldn’t have to worry about being late to a meeting or class after talking with my friends for hours about random things like cereal because I could just instantly be there. Not only would I no longer be late to class, but I would also save money on transportation, which I could then use to buy myself more boba to feed the boba addiction that I have developed in college. The possibilities are endless.

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