While The University of Texas offers various breaks for students year-round, many LBJ School students choose to spend their hard-earned vacation serving the public and laying the foundations for an impactful career.
LBJ School student Luisa Alejandra Tello is no different. Alejandra, a first-year student in the Master of Global Policy Studies program, spent her winter break in Bogota, Colombia, working with Instituto Pedagogico Nacional (IPN), a public school offering education from preschool through high school. Unlike other public schools in Colombia, IPN offers free special education, which is invaluable for many parents who lack the financial resources to pay out of pocket.
“I believe IPN constitutes the ideal center of education because it is the only public school in Bogota DC whose students belong to all socioeconomic statuses. It is a real center for free thought, discussion and learning,” Alejandra says.
"I got involved in the bill project because the opportunity that I had should be available to all children and youth in Colombia, regardless of their socioeconomic status."
Alejandra worked with the principal of the school, Alejandro Alvarez, to secure continued funding that would ensure the school could remain open and provide a high-quality education to students with special needs.
“During the time I was in Colombia, we were able to include in the national tax reform an article for the budget that is required for the operation of the school,” she says. “We are confident that this was the first step to ensure that the school will remain open. The next step is to approve the bill, once the Colombian Congress start the next legislature.”
Alejandra also helped Principal Alvarez create a political communications strategy.
The IPN school holds a particular importance to Alejandra—a 2005 graduate, she says the school transformed her life.
“With both the academic training and financial support of the LBJ School, I was able to share with Colombian policymakers how the IPN school helped develop my passion for development.”
“I got involved in the bill project because the opportunity that I had should be available to all children and youth in Colombia, regardless of their socioeconomic status,” she says.
Now that she’s at the LBJ School, she’s using her experiences and education to improve the lives of others.
“During my days in high school, I found that I was passionate about working for a more inclusive and developed country, and that led me to become a graduate student at the LBJ School,” she says. “With both the academic training and financial support of the LBJ School, I was able to share with Colombian policymakers how the IPN school helped develop my passion for development.”
Alejandra says she sees similarities in the values of IPN and the LBJ School, like inclusion and social progress.
“I believe that the IPN School helped me to become a better Colombian citizen, and the LBJ School is training me to become a global citizen whose aim is to contribute to improving the life conditions of many communities, not only in Colombia but in any part of the world.”
About the Master of Global Policy Studies
Through a rigorous core program, hands-on application and options for customization, the Master of Global Policy Studies degree provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of global policy issues. Graduates are prepared for careers in sectors like national security and intelligence, international development, global governance, energy and global environmental policy.