Teach for America alumnus and Harris Alumni Fellowship recipient makes his mark on education policy.

Taylor Docking, MPP'18, a recent recipient of the Harris Alumni Fellowship, received a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014. Docking taught in Chicago with Teach For America. During his two years of teaching, he founded Project Intersect, a non-profit that is revolutionizing the way low-income high schools and liberal arts colleges partner in order to ensure the college persistence of Chicago's low-income students. Learn more about Docking and his passion for education policy.

Why did you choose to attend Harris Public Policy and what do you hope it will lead to?

I chose to attend Harris for a few reasons. First, I found the students to be extraordinarily friendly and passionate. I knew they could teach me so much about their areas of expertise, and I was hoping to become a bit more well-rounded in my policy acumen. Second, I appreciated Harris' unabashed commitment to quantitative study. I studied literature and history at Wash U, so I felt strong in reading and writing, but I knew that if I wanted to make a big impact in a policy field, I needed to fine-tune my quantitative skills, and Harris is the place to do that. Lastly, and most importantly, Harris is located on the south side of Chicago, and I am extremely passionate about helping kids in this area. The hardest two years of my life were spent serving students in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, and now I feel completely connected to the kids in South Chicago. Attending Harris would allow for me to not only learn a great deal in the classroom, but also allow for me to continue to serve the population I am most interested in helping.

Please describe any special internships, teaching activities, publications, or presentations you may have worked on so far that you feel are particularly noteworthy.  

As an undergrad, I served as one of two student representatives to the Board of Trustees at Wash U. Our final presentation to the board was about improving health services on Wash U's campus and as a result, they built a new center for health services and, per our request, hired an extra staff member. I am very proud of this. 

I also served as vice president of the student body. I was president of the German honorary and spent time tutoring and coaching inner-city students. I was also asked to speak to a group of about 100 seniors in a Ted Talk-style event at the end of senior year. I explained, in the context of my own life story, what the purpose of the humanities are for young people today.

I recently spoke about Project Intersect to a group of 300 donors at Adrian College. You can read about the speech here.

How has the Harris Alumni Fellowship support impacted your life and work at Harris?

The fellowship was instrumental in convincing me to start a master's program. Because I am interested in entrepreneurial work, I need to be very careful about how much debt I take on. This scholarship will allow me to leave with a manageable amount of debt and, thus, will provide me the option of pursuing my dreams of devising creative ways to address educational equity.