Brittany Read majored in legal communications at Howard University and assumed she would go onto law school en route to a career in government and social policy. Then a merit-based, full tuition HBCU and HSI Bridge Scholarship from University of Chicago Professional Education put her on a new path to her goal.
The Bridge scholarship supports graduating seniors and recent alumni of historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions pursuing masters or doctoral degrees in UChicago’s graduate divisions and professional schools.
At the Harris School of Public Policy’s 2019 Diversity Day, Read met fellow Howard alumna and Bridge Scholar Leah Castleberry (MPP ‘20), who recommended that Read apply for the Bridge Scholarship. During the Bridge Scholarship selection process, Read decided that a master’s degree from the UChicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) would be a rigorous and fulfilling path to policy work. She began the Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration (SW) master’s program in 2020.
Without the Bridge program, Read says, she would never have landed at UChicago, and SSA is exactly the right place. “I’m interested in doing so many things,” she says, “and all of them are centered around advocacy, promoting equity, and serving people who aren’t traditionally served.
“I was talking with one of my professors about how this degree hadn’t been in my plan, and she urged me to read between the lines and see the connections. The social work degree is a way to understand what people need and use that understanding as the foundation of developing policy—and I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of it as a step toward working in the policy arena if not for the Bridge Scholarship.”
“The things I’m learning and the perspectives of all the different people I’m interacting with have had tremendous impact on the way I think about my future plans, although government and writing policy will always be what I want to do. Policy that impacts people of color is policy that people of color should write.”