Read Summer Intern Policy Brief


The New Jersey State Policy Lab held the 2023 Summer Internship presentations at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy on August 17, 2023. The eight summer interns each presented on their subject of research, which covered a range of public policy topics related to education, housing, and public health in the Garden State.

The NJSPL summer interns included Ciera Gaither, Christopher Gomes, Maia Hill, Taylor Hughes, Anisaa Jean-Pierre, Xiao Liang, Jesskomar Velarde Gargot, and Sofia Wernyj. They were led throughout the course of their internship by two Policy Lab teaching assistants, Molly Basdeo Mountjoy and Josephine O’Grady. Bloustein Dean Stuart Shapiro, who also serves as the Principal Investigator of the New Jersey State Policy Lab, welcomed the students and guests.

In addition to their individual research and presentations, the students collaborated to prepare a policy brief, entitled Affordable Housing Impact on Education and Health in New Jersey. This policy brief examines the importance of affordable and stable housing in the state, and the effects that the lack of safe, affordable housing can have on the overall quality of life for residents and their families.

The summit was well attended by both Rutgers faculty and staff, as well as by key figures from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), including Vance Stephens, Director of Policy at OSHE, and Mayors Paul Muir and Janice Kovach, who represented the New Jersey Conference of Mayors.

As part of their internship, the students met with and were provided mentorship and support by more than a dozen members of Rutgers faculty and staff. We would like to express our sincere thanks to them and to OSHE for their support of the New Jersey State Policy Lab and our summer interns. NJSPL Executive Director Elizabeth Cooner noted, “These students are passionate researchers with excellent research skills who will surely improve the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Links to all the interns’ presentations are available on our website here.