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“In Pursuit Of Public Service” – by Ellen Kamei


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My introduction to women in politics came when I was nine years old. My
mother took me to a fundraiser to meet the newly elected U.S. Senator
representing our home state of California, Barbara Boxer. That night, I
received an autograph with a message personalized to me: “Ellen– Always
remember to shoot for your dreams! – Barbara Boxer.” The ink has faded
over the years, but the power of the words remains as fresh as the day
they were written, reminding me of my own potential to be a woman in
leadership and the importance of public service.

Now seventeen years later, I pursue my interest in public service with
graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of
Government. Considered the birthplace of American democracy,
Philadelphia is the ideal city to learn about policy and politics. I
have the opportunity to study curriculum that expands my understanding
of governance and instills in me the preparation for success.

My determination to become a public servant stems from my cultural
background and early exposure to politics. As both a multiracial
individual and as a woman, my personal experiences and cultural
perspectives bring an unprecedented dynamic to politics. My father, a
Japanese American born in an internment camp in Wyoming, and my mother, a
Chinese-Puerto Rican American from New York City, instilled in me the
importance of political diversity, extending past the boundaries of race
and gender. My parents’ histories inspired me to explore politics,
leading me to pursue a career on Capitol Hill. During my two years as a
Congressional staffer, I gained insight on the fast-paced life and
inside workings of politics and the legislative process. I have seen the
demanding rigors of elected life and public service. Today, I am able
to apply my legislative experiences to my public policy studies so that I
can become a more effective leader and a strong example for other young
women and minorities.

My involvement in the role of women in politics, my cultural background,
and my experience in legislation and politics have served as the
unequivocal push to pursue a career in public service. A CampusGov.com
& GovLoop.com Scholarship allows me the means necessary to achieve
this dream by not only providing a forum to research jobs and network
but also the opportunity to support myself in an unpaid internship as
public sector internships often are.

This summer I will be coupling my federal government experience with an
internship in local government in New York City so that I may further my
understanding of governance on a different level. I look forward to a
future in politics and playing a critical role in the public sector as a
life long public servant. And, as Senator Boxer’s note serves to
reminds me, there is no limit to one’s dreams and I am confident that a
CampusGov.com & GovLoop.com Scholarship will enable me to pursue
putting the next step of becoming a public servant into action.

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