Seeing Education Through A Different Lens

Leila Braun ’16 worked with Research for Action in Philadelphia this summer.

English major and education minor Leila Braun ’16 is at home in a classroom, whether analyzing novels and poems or teaching in an education field placement. But this summer, she got the chance to view education in a new way.

In June and July, Braun served as an Undergraduate Research Intern for Research for Action (RFA) in Philadelphia. The nonprofit conducts independent studies on education issues to provide metrics for policy makers that can help them improve educational resources and outcomes for all students.


“I wanted a summer internship that would give me the opportunity to engage more deeply with educational issues outside of my coursework,” says Braun. As an intern, she worked closely on a project evaluating philanthropic investment in the college readiness sector, such as Philadelphia’s Social Innovation Fund. She also studied the effectiveness and development of several national college access nonprofits.


Braun’s self-designed internship was sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. Although this was her first foray into nonprofit social research, Braun has volunteer experience in the Philadelphia area, with the nonprofits Positive Aging and Puentes de Salud.


At the RFA office, Braun got the chance to conduct social research under the supervision of highly trained experts in the field, and to study programs and organizations that work to improve the lives of students in Philadelphia. “[During my internship] I felt continually inspired by the innovative programs we evaluated and by the enthusiasm and vigor of the researchers themselves,” said Braun. “I’ve learned about nonprofits and government initiatives that are truly making a difference in the empowerment and self-sufficiency of American students.”


—Kelsey Ryan ’14