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It’s been less than a year since Inku Subedi ’05received her undergraduate degree, but the native of Nepal is already well on her way to a career in shaping public policy. Subedi, who double majored in anthropology & sociology and psychology, is the Miriam K. Chamberlain Fellow at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

“I did a lot of research on public policy at Lafayette, but I wanted to get a sense of how social science research is disseminated in the public policy arena and how that research is used for changing policy and for advocacy,” she says. “For that, I thought this was the best place to go because not only do we do a lot of research, we partner with a lot of advocacy groups and do congressional briefings. This position is kind of a bridge, where I still am working on research, but also am getting an idea of how it can be applied.”

Subedi is evaluating a report by the institute, 10 years in the making, on the status of women in the U.S. from a range of perspectives. Her evaluation includes meeting with a working group comprising 14 women from a variety of backgrounds, including university professors and members of philanthropic groups, in an advisory capacity to learn how ensuing reports could be enhanced.

“The study was a big success, but the goal is learning its impact,” Subedi says. “This report covered areas like unemployment, poverty, and health issues, but we’re also trying to learn if there are other issues about the status of women that people would like data and analysis on.”

For example, says Subedi, while the report gives a picture of the status of women on a state-by-state basis, some people might want to analyze the status of women in specific counties or other local levels.

Subedi also is designing a 40-question survey, posting it on the Internet, and mailing it to the dozens of agencies, institutions, and foundations involved in the decade-long project. She will conduct a focus group to gain a more in-depth understanding of how the project could be improved.

Subedi says her experience at Lafayette as a leader in extracurricular activities and participant in the Technology Clinic program gave her the abilities to handle the sweeping project.

“It made me confident that I can put together an extensive report, like the one I’m developing for the status of women project,” she says. “I don’t think I would have this sort of confidence if I had not gone through all of that training at Lafayette.”

Subedi also is involved in several group projects, such as writing a grant proposal to study African American women and how they deal with HIV and AIDS; researching and preparing a briefing on the status of women in pre-Katrina New Orleans; and organizing a conference in Atlanta, which will bring women from different religious organizations together to talk about values and politics.

Throughout all of her responsibilities at the institute, Subedi continually draws upon her Lafayette education.

“The Tech Clinic project was really instrumental in giving me the confidence, as well as the skills, for this fellowship,” she says. “I learned things like putting together a meeting, identifying key disciplines for certain projects, communicating with people from different areas. Tech Clinic also exposed me to people outside academia, and that has been really helpful because I feel like I know how to explain myself and communicate with officials.

“Working with a group to produce something has given me good teamwork skills, which I gained not only at Tech Clinic, but through participating in many different organizations at Lafayette. As the fundraising chair for Alternative Spring Break, I learned about the funding practices for nonprofits, and as president of a few organizations, I learned some leadership skills as well.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles