Alumni Feature: Alondre Taylor

By Gretchen Kent

A Student Wearing Headphones And Using A Laptop

My name is Alondre Taylor. I am a rising senior at George Wythe High School and want to share my experiences with Policy Pathways. Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to participate in three virtual programs organized by Policy Pathways: Shaping our Future: Public Policy credit-bearing course at my school through a partnership with Richmond Public Schools; the Summer Academy for Policy Leadership, and Public Service Online (SAO); and the Policy Research Internship Program. I am grateful for the generous support from Richmond Public Schools and the City of Richmond’s Mayor’s Youth Academy that allowed me to attend these programs.

I have learned so much through Policy Pathways. In each lecture we discussed an aspect of public policy, like immigration, race, and gender in the media, social welfare, research methods, youth activism, advocacy, and international affairs, to name a few. Experts in each subject joined the virtual classroom to teach us about their specialties. 

The Capstone projects I have participated in taught me about various things as well. My first project was about climate change and food security in Ghana, followed by a summer Capstone about gerrymandering and the implications of persistent undercounting on communities of color based on US Census Data. My third Capstone project was about flood preparedness and climate change’s impact on Virginia’s middle peninsula. 

This year, I learned from another Capstone project on China-Africa trade that an increasing number of Chinese are involved in illegal mining in Ghana. First, I didn’t know gold mining could be illegal, and second, I didn’t know Ghana had valuable minerals and gold, to begin with. I have discovered so many things that policy is actually involved in: from illegal mining to climate change, from solar energy to change the name of a park. It is all very interesting.

I appreciate the charitable donation from Bobby and Jayne Ukrop to Policy Pathways, Inc., for the purchase of laptops. I was lucky to receive a laptop this summer for use in Policy Pathways’ Policy Research Internship Program. The computer allowed me to access SPSS software and engage with instructors. In past Policy Pathways sessions that I participated in, I was not able to enjoy the full benefits of the program because my loaner ChromeBook has firewalls or is not compatible with statistical software packages.  

The main programs we were using were SPSS and Excel to explore data on pregnancies and births by race and age in Virginia. It was very interesting, especially the data analysis sessions. I find data analysis interesting, especially because it is unlikely that I would have learned any of that in school.

I have to say that joining Policy Pathways has done a lot for me during my summer. It is a pretty good program to go through, especially if you’re interested in learning about policy, data analysis, and rights. Time will tell if the policies we talked about will come to life, but if we keep participating and coming together as a community, we can make the changes. Thank you, Policy Pathways, for everything you have done and provided for me!