June 14, 2024

JSI Scholar: Kierra Shaw

  • Pronouns: She/Her
  • Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
  • College/University: CUNY Hunter College
  • Major: Political Science
  • Track: Residential

Tell us about your story

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, raised by a single mother, alongside two siblings. Attending Abraham Lincoln High School, where I found myself drawn to law through their specialized program. Engaging in classes ranging from constitutional law to public policy, I was intrigued by law and how it shapes our societies and individuals’ experiences. Driving me to participate in extracurricular activities like Moot Court and mock trial, where I gained experience in argumentation and critical thinking, along with grasping the nature of our political system. This led me to run for student body president my senior year, where I was elected in 2021. Allowing me to gain experience in my school’s political and social climate whilst awarding me experience in public speaking and communication with various department heads. While focusing on my studies and academic extracurriculars, I balanced my studies with sports, participating in three different sports teams throughout my high school years. This trickled into my college career where I play Division Three Softball for Hunter College and Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics and English, I continued to explore my interests in governance.

What path did you take when you first started college?

When I first started college I intended to major in Political Science. After taking an introductory economics course I decided to pursue a minor in economics as I found the topic interesting and helpful to my major. I find Political Science and Economics to go hand and hand because policy is driven by economics. I’ve always been interested in English and by taking on an English minor I was able to keep my studies creative as many of the classes I’ve taken for my English minor have included creative writing.

What made you consider a career in public policy/public service/international affairs?

I’ve always been drawn to work in public service, particularly in international affairs. I find global affairs intriguing, as the global network is critical to society. My career goal is to work in international security or international relations. I hope that the PPIA program will help me to enhance my skills to achieve my career goals.

Who inspires you to think about public service?

The call to public service resonates with me deeply because it is about making a meaningful impact on people’s lives. Whether it’s advocating for better policies, improving access services, or simply lending a helping hand, I have always been driven by the desire to contribute positively to society. I’m aware of the importance of representation in the public service arena and as a biracial gay woman it is enlightening to see more people who look like me in the industry but I’d like to see this continued. My passion for public service stems from a desire to help others, but it is also fueled by the determination to see diversity and inclusivity in the industry.

What are you most excited about the JSI program at UW?

This summer I am most excited to learn through the various classes, specifically the economics for policy analysis course which will teach me to analyze policy and practice using economic theories when examining social issues and public policies. I am most excited to work with my peers and mentors which will help me achieve my career goals, enhance my skills, and expand my personal and professional network. I am also very excited to go to the west coast and explore a new city. I hope to go on a hike during my time there and ride the ferry.