Three UMaine undergraduates chosen as ENACT Labor Network Policy Fellows
This academic year, three University of Maine students will be learning about state policy through direct engagement with the policymaking process as part of an innovative new fellowship supported by the Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation (ENACT) at Brandeis University.
Political science majors Kevin Fitzpatrick of Damariscotta and Harley Rogers of Lincoln, and Elijah Munro-Ludders of Bath, a triple major in political science, philosophy and sociology, join a select group of students in three states chosen to participate in this new national pilot program.
Since 2016, ENACT has supported efforts to educate undergraduates about policymaking through direct engagement in the policy process: researching bills, traveling to state capitals to meet with lawmakers and policy advocates, and providing research-based insights about proposed legislation. Undergraduates at 29 colleges and universities nationwide are engaged in hands-on work involving state-level legislation through ENACT, with the goal of expanding the network to all 50 states.
The newly created ENACT Labor Network is an extension and deepening of this work that will create a corps of faculty members and students focused specifically on labor legislation in participating states on a year-round basis. In addition to the resources provided by ENACT to support this effort, the University of Maine Honors College and Department of Political Science will be providing support to fund student travel, research stipends, and funds to participate in conferences and workshops.
Over the course of the year, the ENACT Labor Network will also be engaging with lawmakers, officials in state agencies, and labor policy research and advocacy organizations at both the state and national level. Undergraduate policy fellows from Maine will also connect with fellows in other states across the country to share their insights about state policymaking and to compare the very different political cultures of their respective states.
UMaine’s three new fellows were chosen out of a large and extremely talented pool of applicants and all offered compelling reasons for why they want to be involved: desires to one day serve the public as lawmakers, watching family members struggling to navigate complex bureaucracies to access unemployment benefits, or a desire to see Maine grow its workforce and attract more workers to the state to reverse demographic decline.
“Labor policy is important to me because it affects almost all areas of life,” Fitzpatrick says. “We all have to work, so labor policy is bound to affect everyone at some point in their lives.”
Rogers, who one day hopes to serve as a Maine state legislator, says she is eager to participate in the law-making process and “will hopefully be witness to some significant labor bills becoming law.”
The students will be working with Rob Glover, an associate professor of political science and honors, who has been part of ENACT since its inception. Glover has employed the ENACT model of hands-on engagement in his popular state politics course, POS 362-Maine Government.
Glover has received numerous awards for his efforts to fuse community engagement with undergraduate teaching including the 2018 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching and the 2014 Donald Harward Award for Service Learning Excellence from Maine Campus Compact.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745