My experience as both a Fellow and Senior Fellow with the Global Campaign for Education – US has been an insightful and incredible experience. In the midst of a global pandemic and adjusting to working remotely, I have grown professionally, academically, and personally. GCE-US has provided me with opportunities to work with professionals in the international basic education space and the tools to advocate for inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of GCE-US while also pursuing my master's degree at The George Washington University.
Throughout my fellowships, I was responsible for managing GCE-US's social media, writing blogs, attending and helping prep events, and reaching out to congressional offices, coalition members, and donors. Each task at GCE-US helped me develop and allowed me to feel fulfilled in the work. I especially enjoyed attending webinars on a broad range of topics, including girls’ education, disability-inclusive education, and universal design learning. My favorite webinars were those hosted by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), Girl Rising, and Malala Fund. A highlight of my time that I will always remember is speaking at Rep. Nita Lowey’s retirement event. Throughout my first year as a fellow, I was very inspired by her leadership and commitment towards basic education for all students. This opportunity and others helped me to become better at public speaking – an area I previously struggled with.
In addition to my various responsibilities at GCE-US, I was also able to help push and highlight conversations regarding education in emergencies. Over the course of my academic career, I have always had an interest in assisting and calling attention to marginalized populations. GCE-US allowed me to connect with colleagues and coalition members such as Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and UNICEF USA to learn more about how to ensure that students in conflict-affected areas are able to attend school and continue learning. I am grateful to have had the chance to speak and work with incredible professionals, including Giulia McPherson, Rachel Wisthuff, and Mark Engman, who I now see as my mentors. The information I learned and gathered helped me tremendously in my coursework, especially when thinking about gender norms and socio-economic status.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing support system I’ve gained here at GCE-US. I am very thankful and grateful to Jennifer Rigg, Suzanne Berman, Megan Testen, Tom Sabella, Stephanie Peña, Christa Giesecke, and Taylor Rogers. Although I did not have the chance to meet several of them in person in the midst of COVID-19, I know that I can always reach out to them in the future for guidance and as a friend. Everyone greatly contributed to my ability be a productive member of the team. I will always remember how well we worked together, including team building through Zoom!
My fellowships with GCE-US have allowed me to become an advocate for equitable education, girls’ education, and inclusive education. It has been such an honor to work remotely and learn from wisdom and experiences of people across the Global Campaign for Education movement. For these reasons and many more, I look forward to graduating in May 2022 with an MA in International Affairs, and working in the Greater Seattle Area in the international development and education space. Thank you for a wonderful two years, GCE-US!
Shruti Nallappa graduated with a degree in Global Affairs, a minor in Korean Studies, and dual concentrations in Global Governance and Human Security from George Mason University in December 2019. At the Global Campaign for Education - US (GCE-US), she is the Senior Fellow, where she assists with many of the organization's needs including social media presence, communications, engagement, public policy, and advocacy work. As a Senior Fellow, she hopes to gain knowledge about improving education at both an international and domestic level and the steps necessary in order to implement quality education policies. Shruti previously served as an intern for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) in Washington, D.C. where she worked closely with the Legislative Director and Foreign Affairs staff. She has also studied at George Mason University Korea and the University of Oxford in England where she obtained a certificate in history, politics, and society. Shruti is now pursuing her graduate studies at The George Washington University where she will be obtaining an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Africa region and humanitarian assistance.