On May 22 the Taubman Center named Erica Brown MPP ’13 the A. Alfred E. Taubman Scholar and Alexi Pfeffer-Gillett MPP ’13 the Darrell West Scholar.
Erica Brown’s policy focus is the role that education plays in alleviating poverty in the developing world. This summer she will be working with Innovations for Poverty Action in Uganda to help design an intervention focused on women's empowerment, which will include a controlled trial to test the program. The aim is to improve health outcomes for women and children.
Since 2010, Brown has been employed at Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE) as a scholarship and mentor program coordinator. RISE provides scholarships and mentoring to children of incarcerated parents in Rhode Island in order to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, crime and addiction. Her research projects at the university have included working with the Training School (Rhode Island’s youth correctional institution) to design a communications campaign for virtual learning opportunities for youth.
Prior to attending Brown, she volunteered with The DREAM Project in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, where she was part of a team working with local leaders to improve the public school system.
Pfeffer-Gillett’s primary policy focus is education, particularly charter school reform, high stakes standardized testing and postsecondary education financing. This summer he will be a research intern for the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. He will also pursue a research project on the school-to-prison pipeline, working with the ACLU, the Rhode Island Public Defender's Office, the Rhode Island Family Court, and other state agencies and nonprofits.
Pfeffer-Gillett was recently a volunteer for Generation Citizen, serving as a mentor and teacher for a ninth grade civics class at Paul Cuffee High School in South Providence. He also contributed research to a case study of pension reform in Rhode Island (along with two other Taubman students) that was presented at the State Legislative Leaders Foundation conference in May 2012.