La Follette School Master of Public Affairs student Gabriel Stowe Terrell was recently accepted to the 2022 Public Policy New Voices (PPNV) fellowship program. The fellowship, which is a collaboration among leading American public policy graduate schools, corporate public policy teams, and a number of innovative global strategic advisory firms, provides a year-long fellowship for 40 public policy graduate students from racially underrepresented communities. PPNV aims to match each fellow with a paid internship within its partner organizations, providing fellows with pathways to employment opportunities and an increased network to support their professional success in a field that historically has systemic barriers to entry for people of color.
Terrell recently completed his first year in the MPA program and is interested in the intersection of social policy and social justice. He is a member of the La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) where he serves as the first-year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) coordinator. As part of this role, he has helped to create a new DEI student advisory committee to strengthen student feedback and he moderates the La Follette School’s Elevating Equity in Policymaking series. Terrell grew up in Wisconsin and says that it was his dream to attend UW–Madison for his MPA and give back to his home state. Receiving a La Follette scholarship that covered his first-year tuition in the program made this dream possible. Because of the scholarship, he says, “I could focus all my energy to study and put into practice ways to provide others who face economic and social barriers an equal opportunity to live out a successful and vibrant life.”
Terrell, who was born in Asuncion, Paraguay and adopted by his two dads John and John, saw the important role that higher education plays in socio-economic mobility as a community college student here in Madison. He went on to complete a bachelor of science degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, where he studied how central employment is to a person’s economic livelihood and well-being.
“I want to continue to help citizens secure access to employment, housing, financial security, transportation, and education,” says Terrell. “These are all domains of public affairs, and I am so grateful to have an opportunity to help individuals secure more access to these foundations of a good life here in Wisconsin, the state that has provided me so much already.”
In addition to the New Voices fellowship, Terrell will head to Washington, D.C. this summer to complete the Montgomery County Council fellowship that he received earlier this year. Terrell will work under the supervision of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Deputy Director of Transportation Policy to identify transportation projects eligible for federal investment under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act across the MCDOT’s five divisions (Infrastructure Engineering, Traffic Engineering and Operations, Parking, Transit, and Highway Services).
Terrell is currently a policy researcher with Downtown Madison, Inc., where he writes on civic public policies that create a vibrant and inclusive downtown. Previously, he interned with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help enforce and administer civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. He also co-authored the 2020 book Understanding the Human Mind with his father, who is an anthropologist.
When asked what advice he would give to students starting their MPA, Terrell remarked, “The MPA program will give you the tools to start your career in public affairs, but you will need to figure out what career suits you best. Start now and actively network with people who are doing the work you see yourself doing because those conversations will help you to navigate the choices and opportunities you only have a short time as a student to develop.”