Legislative Analyst, StudentsFirst (Sacramento, CA)
Pam Witmer is a legislative analyst for StudentsFirst, a national education reform organization created by former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. StudentsFirst aims to put laws and leaders in place that put students' interests over special interests. Pam reviews, analyzes, and drafts legislation for several states, including Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and previously, Alabama. She works alongside state coalitions, advocacy groups, legislators, lobbyists, and other stakeholders to pass laws and regulations and gather support and context for the political and educational atmosphere in each state. She also conducts legal research and drafts memoranda on upcoming litigation in the above mentioned states, potential constitutional conflicts, and due process claims.
While at Loyola, Pam interned for the Lead Safe Illinois campaign at the ChildLaw Center’s Policy Institute and was an extern at Equip for Equality. Pam also served as a student clinician in the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic. Prior to law school, she taught second and third grades in Atlanta, Georgia as a Teach for America corps member.
The aspect or aspects of the work you find most satisfying:
I really enjoy working with so many different people. My coworkers are energetic, engaged, and truly care about putting policies in place that are good for kids. When I travel to my states, I also have an opportunity to engage with stakeholders on the ground who share this same passion.
How Loyola supported you in your career development:
My legal education at Loyola has played a key role in my success at StudentsFirst. I apply my degree in a variety of different ways each day, and I rely on my clinic experience and work experience more than I anticipated. I am also thankful to have had such amazing professors that supported me in my decision to not only take this job but to move across the country to do so.
Advice to other Loyola students seeking opportunities in the field:
If other students are seeking to work in education policy, I suggest checking out the Pie Network's career page (http://www.pie-network.org/connect/find-a-job) in addition to reaching out to others who currently work in the field.