Gabe Morrison, AB’21, is deeply interested in the ways public policy intersects with issues of equity and social justice — a lens shared by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a nonprofit that develops solutions for growth with an eye toward building a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Chicago region. Morrison spent the summer of 2019 interning at MPC thanks to an internship he received through the Jeff Metcalf Internship Program of UChicago Career Advancement.
Through the Metcalf Program, UChicago is committed to supporting paid internship opportunities that give students the skills and experience they need to achieve their career goals. Each year, the Metcalf Program provides College students with 3,000 substantive, paid internships all over the world. The program connects students with internships across a highly diverse range of industries and organizations, ranging from neighborhood nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies.
“There were other interns at MPC, not from UChicago, who were working unpaid — so they could only be there two or three days a week and had to work paid jobs the other days,” Morrison says. “I was grateful for the opportunity to work there full-time.”
Morrison researched neighborhoods and created maps for community meetings to gather residents’ input on redevelopment near the recently rehabbed 95th Street Red Line and bus terminal. “I was part of the community engagement team, which works to empower people who wouldn’t necessarily have a voice in other development processes,” he explains. “The vision is to figure out what people want to see there” by having residents interact with maps showing community boundaries, zoning rules, existing assets, and more. A public policy and geography double major, Morrison says that his experience at MPC and conversations with staff researchers have him considering a career in quantitative public policy analysis.
“From an equity perspective, the Metcalf program is really powerful: It allows people who can’t afford to do unpaid internships the ability to explore what they’re interested in.”