Kate Neifeld is back at Milano after spending six months as a Women in Public Policy Fellow. The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society (CWGCS) fellowship program is a rigorous, and multi-faceted leadership development program for graduate students. CWGCS believes that the underrepresentation of women in policy leadership positions weakens the democratic foundation of our nation and has critical policy implications for citizens. The over 400 fellows graduated go on to hold high ranking positions in the public service field.

Policy-related placements in New York State agencies, the Legislature and statewide nonprofit advocacy organizations are a central component of the fellowship. Kate was placed at the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in their Bureau of Policy Analysis. In that role, she was able to gain a 360-degree view of how policy is disseminated among federal, state, and local levels. Her policy field experience included writing a white paper on the importance, and benefits, of kinship care, and the implications of a new federal law (The Family First Prevention Services Act) that was recently passed.

During the fellowship, fellows heard from various stakeholders and elected officials about the process of developing public policy, including Milano alum and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli (‘88) pictured here with the 2019 Fellows. “I learned so many valuable career lessons,” Kate says of her experience. “By working in a state agency, I was able to see how OCFS operates within the state, how ideas become law, and how laws eventually become policy.”