Meet Penn Hill Group’s Fall interns, Soraya Zrikem and Kirsten Mettler. Soraya, a returning Penn Hill Group intern, is a senior at the University of Michigan and is pursuing a double major in Philosophy, Politics & Economics and English. Kirsten is a sophomore at Stanford University and plans to major in Political Science with minors in Feminist and Gender Studies and Creative Writing. See our interviews below with Soraya and Kirsten to learn more about them and all they bring to the Penn Hill Group team. Welcome, Soraya and Kirsten!

Soraya Zrikem:

Why did you decide to spend a semester working for a company based in DC?

My interest in education policy at the Federal level has compelled me to work in Washington. As a Senior at the University of Michigan, I wanted to capitalize on the current virtual environment to immerse myself in D.C while still studying and living in Ann Arbor. I am looking forward to improving my virtual work skills with a team as friendly and welcoming as Penn Hill Group!

What do you hope to do or learn during this internship?

Throughout my college career I have had the privilege of working with students in schools, doing research on local and state education policy, and working with the University of Michigan to promote college access. As a mediator between the Federal government and the private sector, Penn Hill Group is the ideal space to learn how to navigate education policy at the Federal level. By the end of this internship I aspire to have a better understanding of how education policy is created and implemented.

What interests you most about education?

As a Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) and English major, I have had the opportunity to study how education is the foundation to an equitable society from an array of perspectives. My studies and extracurricular activities have fueled my passion for promoting post-secondary access and equitable education policy.

What are some of your future goals?

In the future, I plan to continue working in educational access or policy at either the district, state, or Federal level.

Kirsten Mettler:

Why did you decide to spend a semester working for a DC-based company?

As someone with an interest in government and policy, there is no better community than DC. With my university being remote for the fall, I knew that I wanted to take some time doing hands-on work to better expose myself to policymaking in our country. Not to mention that this is a presidential election year, making it a unique opportunity to observe DC politics.

What do you hope to do or learn during this internship?

I would like to build a better understanding of policy and lobbying and familiarize myself with skills that are crucial to my career goals. Additionally, I have found myself to be very interested in education policy, and I hope that working with Penn Hill Group will help me better understand the various policy positions in the field.

What interests you most about education?

My father always told me that education is the most wonderful thing that you can give a child. Education is powerful; despite being at the heart of so many inequities in this country, it also can promote great change. This past summer, I was also working on education policy, and I found myself fascinated by the various debates in the field. Many acknowledge that education is key to advancing society and promoting equity but disagree passionately on how to best work towards fixing those goals. I am interested in education policy because I think fixing education issues are some of the most pressing and complex questions for our country right now.

What are some of your future goals?

In terms of career goals, I am hoping to go to law school to pursue civil rights law and then work in either government or advocacy. On a more personal note, I am very passionate about writing and hope to have a novel published.