Before entering the La Follette School, Emily Frank served as a legal advocate for people facing issues with their food stamps and public assistance in New York City. Her efforts resulted in $440,000 in retroactive benefits and $67,000 in ongoing benefits for her clients at the Urban Justice Center.
Frank, a second-year master of public affairs (MPA) student, also helped produce the Safety Net Project’s Stories of Resilience, an online digital media campaign highlighting the stories of people living in poverty.
Stories of Resilience illustrates the breadth and complexity of poverty in the United States by telling the stories of those directly affected. Through videos and photos, the campaign demonstrates the sharp contrast between the commonly perpetuated myths associated with poverty and government benefits and the reality of those experiences.
“The project is very near and dear to my heart, not only because its goal is to change the conversation on poverty, but because I interviewed two of my former clients for the video,” said Frank, who has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from New York University.
“I hope to leave the La Follette School with the ability to contribute my policy analysis skills to community groups, foster opportunities for citizens to make their voices heard in policy decisions, or serve in some other role that will allow me to combine policy with community organizing,” she said.
After returning from an internship in Germany, Frank will begin a project assistantship with faculty members Dave Weimer and Lindsay Jacobs funded by the Herb Kohl Public Service Research Competition. Frank was a project assistant with the Access to Justice project at UW–Madison’s Law School and Institute for Research on Poverty during the 2017–18 academic year.