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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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