- I took a practicum course which involved doing a real-life project for a client with three of my classmates. The client was a job training and placement program in Chicago for homeless and other at-risk individuals. They provided us with their participant data and we did extensive analysis to determine employment outcomes. The final product was a presentation at the client (on Nov 30) and a report which (fingers crossed) we will send out today. The project involved a lot of work but it was satisfying and I really enjoyed it. I got very into the data analysis and was able to indulge my number-nerd side. I have been working on editing the final report for so long that Jason was afraid that I would be sitting on the couch with my laptop until the end of time.
- I also took a course called Analyzing & Communicating Public Policy. It was the first class where I really felt like I was learning about public policy (only a year late). I had another group project in this class where we proposed a policy and wrote a policy brief and supporting documents and made a presentation to the class. Our policy was a paid family leave insurance program for Illinois, which is a very good idea that will hopefully become a reality within the next few years. The highlight of this project was that our class went to the Chicago Public Radio studios on Navy Pier on Nov 30 (yes, after my presentation to the practicum client) and had the opportunity to be interviewed by the host of local news show 848. I wasn't planning on being interviewed but another group member begged me to do it with her so I did. I would have been very nervous if I'd been anticipating doing it, but since it was a last-minute thing I was pretty relaxed. The professor said that I had a nice conversational tone and gave some good answers. It was just an exercise and won't really be on the radio, but it was a rewarding experience.
- My third class was an overview of survey research in the Sociology department and our final assignment was to put together a grant proposal for a hypothetical research project, based on a series of smaller assignments during the quarter. I based my project on the study I'm a research assistant for and enjoyed the process. It reinforced my interest in conducting research and encouraged my growing interest in someday getting a PhD.
So, all in all it was a good quarter. The stress was almost unbearable at points, but I made it. I owe Jason a world of gratitude for not only putting up with me but actively supporting me, whether with hugs or doing laundry or baking me brownies. He is proud of me and that makes me feel so good. Thanks, hon!