Community/Non Profit: Laura M. Faulkner ’10, M.P.A.’11, Political Science Major

Policy Analyst, Economic Progress Institute, Providence, R.I.

After a nine-month stint with the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, Laura Faulkner left for an opportunity at The Poverty Institute in Providence. She can’t say enough about the need to “follow your heart and intuition” when it comes to career opportunities. While she notes that her position at RIPEC, a fiscally conservative, business-backed think tank, challenged her to research and write from a perspective that didn’t necessarily jibe with her personal ideology, one gets the impression she is grateful she kept her options open.

Faulkner describes her job at the Economic Progress Institute as “the right blend of analysis and advocacy,” something that allows her to take an active role in the mission to eradicate poverty in Rhode Island. Working with political coalitions, Faulkner encourages legislators to pass laws that benefit those most in need.

“Policymakers want clear and specific solutions to eradicating poverty and providing support to those in need, but the political climate and various agendas present a challenge at times,” she acknowledges.

Faulkner says her experience at both at the Expenditure Council and working on the Family Impact Seminar with Jim Gomes, executive director of Clark’s Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, were “absolutely formative to my current career path.”

Faulkner found that her involvement in Student Council and other campus organizations resulted in “real world” applications, and the discovery that group-work comes with its own distinct lessons: consensus-building is essential, one person will always use group time as a sounding board for him/herself, there isn’t always a simple “good” or “bad” vote.

Faulkner hopes to continue working in social policy for several years, and would consider a career in government. While she finds herself energized by politics, she doesn’t predict she would ever run for public office. “I’ll stick to think-tank policy work and possibly state government,” she says.