Rakus-Wojciechowski says the Persuasive Writing Credential helped her to find her voice and pivot to international education.
Headshot of Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski
Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski

For Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski, the Harris Persuasive Writing Credential was perfectly timed. "Last July I was in the process of  co-founding and organizing a virtual Pan-African Youth conference. I had spent several years advocating around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, promoting youth empowerment, gender equality, and quality education. However, the process of organizing a case challenge and workshops surrounding youth empowerment, plus navigating the complexity and limitations of the conference, was daunting. I was heavily invested in youth education, but I wasn't confident that I could effectively relay the narrative and its significance. I struggled to put what I had learned about youth empowerment through education into words. As soon as I had that thought, the Harris brochure came in the mail.” 

Rakus-Wojciechowski felt certain the Persuasive Writing Credential was the right choice for her after hearing Harris Writing Program Director David Chrisinger discuss different writing styles for different audiences during orientation. “Bringing different voices to the writing was exactly what I needed,” she said, “and the credential program format allows you to access information in a way that is not always accessible. They are more affordable than degrees, and you get incredible experiential knowledge out of it.” 

However, the true benefit of the class for Rakus-Wojciechowski proved to be much greater than just writing technique. “I realized that I had a personal stake in youth education, and my narrative could be valuable in shaping better outcomes for others.”

Early in the program, Rakus-Wojciechowski said she went to office hours and spoke with Chrisinger about her feelings of imposter syndrome while completing her bachelor’s in anthropology from Harvard. “Despite having gone to Harvard, and telling myself I should be fine, I often felt I was playing catch-up with my peers,” she said. “However, after my conversation with David, I realized my life experience could contribute to a new type of education policy that empowers youth through a combination of shared narratives and project-based learning. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone’s perspective is unique. We hold ourselves back from telling these stories because we feel unqualified or we don’t know how.” 

This realization proved pivotal to Rakus-Wojciechowski’s trajectory. “I realized as the program progressed, I could not only  articulate my opinions on education policy issues more effectively, but also more confidently. I also came to realize I had an interest in international education, and I was inspired to challenge myself to apply to grad programs in international education. By putting together my experiences and passions, the program helped me figure out my next steps and articulate the changes I want to see in the world.”  

Rakus-Wojciechowski is now working towards her Masters of Education and Human Development at George Washington University and recently accepted a role as a Project Coordinator with EnCompass on their USAID Advancing the Agenda of Gender Equality team. 

“This Credential Program ended up being much more than just a writing class to me. Part of the reason why is because they did such an amazing job in empowering students to find their voice,“ Rakus-Wojciechowski said. “If you plan on doing any sort of policy writing, academic or otherwise, this class should be on your radar.”