We recently reconnected with Heaven Watson, a Jordan High graduate and current student at San Jose State University. She shared how being part of the Partnership’s Policy Advisory Board and Watkins Fellow had an impact on her life. Read more below. 

In October 2021, we spoke with Heaven Watson about her experience with the Partnership’s Policy Advisory Board, a cohort of students, parents, educators, and leaders that elevates the diverse experiences and perspectives of school communities to better inform decision-making on policy positions. You can read more about our conversation with her here

A year later, we reconnected with her to see how she is doing in college. She shares:

“San Jose State University is different from what I was used to. It was a new environmental and cultural change. I’m continuously looking for places that hold representation for me. We have a small, but strong Black community. 

As a Watkins Fellowship recipient (a scholarship awarded to ten students in the Partnership network), I get to attend college with no financial worries. The fellowship removed the burden of paying $10K for tuition each year. I planned on working two jobs during college to make up for what my financial aid didn’t cover, but now I have time to participate in school clubs like the Black Student Union and BRIDGE to advocate for school campus policies that affect me and my peers. 

My educational interests were shaped by my participation in the Partnership’s Policy Advisory Board. During my time on the board, I gained firsthand experience in policy-making, particularly education policies for English learners. It propelled me to pursue public policy as my major. Originally, I was going to major in African-American Studies, but now it will be my minor. I have a vested interest in making a positive impact and advocating for changes in policies affecting my community. While at Jordan, I was involved in ASB and enjoyed being of service to other students, and being part of other clubs also came with mentors who wanted to see me flourish. I was also a part of the LA Trust for Children’s Health Board, where I advocated for sexual health and mental health awareness. Policy and advocacy are in my future.”