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Fels Student Michael Tamayo, '16, Participates in PLAS Fellowship at Philadelphia City Planning Commission

July 7, 2015

Fels caught up with MPA student Michael Tamayo, '16, to discuss his Public Leadership and Service (PLAS) Fellowship at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Read about his summer experience below. 

Where are you working this summer?

I am working at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

What do you do at PCPC?

I am an intern in the policy and analysis division of PCPC. The city's comprehensive plan, Philadelphia 2035, makes broad policy recommendations on what the city needs to do to create a more livable, healthy, and economically viable city in the future. My job is to identify valid metrics and to track them to help the city measure its progress toward the objectives outlined in Philadelphia 2035. Outside of PCPC, I am also helping with the city's outreach efforts to serve summer meals to Philadelphia's youth ages 18 and under.

How has your time at Fels prepared you for your summer experience?

Some Fels classes I have taken are being directly applied to my work. The classes that dealt with data analysis, such as Statistics and Performance Management, are translating well to the work I am currently doing for PCPC.

What are some of the challenges and benefits of your experience?

One of the challenges of this experience is presenting my findings in a clear but simple way. It is difficult to explain your conclusions in a way that makes sense to everybody in the room. When done correctly, however, it is rewarding in that it helps everyone gain a clearer picture of where the city is in fulfilling the objectives it has outlined for itself.

-Are you in a new city/place?

No. I was with the PCPC for several months before accepting the PLAS Fellowship this summer to continue working there, albeit in a different role than before.

What advice do you have for someone looking to do similar work?

Approach this kind of work with an investigative mindset. Always question the data you receive and sift through it to discern patterns and trends that might not be obvious at first. Try to distill a narrative from the data and communicate that narrative in a way that makes sense to others.

Stay tuned for more updates on the PLAS Fellows.

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Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829

felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu