This profile is part of a series highlighting participants of the Urban Education Initiative, the umbrella program for Project Coach at Smith College.
Glendean Hamilton ‘13, an alum of the Smith Urban Ed Fellowship and the Harvard Kennedy School, inspired our Boston Fellows with her talk, “Educating Leaders: Urban Education to Urban Mayors.” Here, she shares about how her experience with the Urban Education Initiative shaped her career path.
Smith College (SC): What are you doing now?
Glendean: I just wrapped up a public policy masters program. I am now the Program Manager for Mayoral Relations with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative housed at Harvard University.
SC: Tell us a highlight memory from your time with the Urban Ed Initiative.
Glendean: A highlight from my time in the Urban Education Fellowship was the relationships I formed with students during the three-week January term fellowship. During my fellowship at the Young Women’s Leadership School in New York City, I had the privilege of helping high school seniors write and revise the application essays they were submitting to colleges. It was a great opportunity to use what I learned from applying to college myself a few years earlier to help younger women accomplish their dreams and build confidence in their writing. Also, it meant a lot to me that a few students texted me months later — long after the fellowship ended — to share the schools they were accepted into and enrolling in.
"Project Coach and the Urban Ed fellowship were the first experiences that showed me the remarkable things that young people can do when they are given agency to try, to lead, to question, and to create."
SC: How did the Urban Ed Initiative impact who you are now, and what you're doing in your life?
Glendean: Both Project Coach and the Urban Education fellowship helped me confirm my passion for working to improve the educational opportunities available to young people. Although no longer serving in the classroom, I taught sixth grade English after leaving Smith because I was able to build confidence by tutoring students and leading exercises with young people through Urban Ed and PC. Outside of my current professional capacity, I serve on the Associate Board of Generation Citizen, a national non-profit that expands civics education to middle school and high schools. I decided to become involved with this organization because it seeks to amplify student voice. Project Coach and the Urban Ed fellowship were the first experiences that showed me the remarkable things that young people can do when they are given agency to try, to lead, to question, and to create.
SC: Team is a big part of life in the Urban Ed Initiative. Who’s on your team in your current life & work?
Glendean: I am very fortunate to have a large team! At work, my teammates are mayors around the world who are hungry to learn how they can run better cities and apply innovative policies to improve the lives of their residents. I, alongside the most brilliant and thoughtful colleagues I could ask for, work with them to identify promising practices that they might try and build their management capacity to successfully implement newly sourced idea. In my personal life, I have mentors — many of whom I met at Smith — who have been key advisors in many of the decisions I have made to get to this point. And, I would be nowhere without my mom — she is my motivation and biggest fan in all that I do.
SC: What big idea, project, adventure has your attention? What’s your next play?
Glendean: I am an entrepreneur at heart. I thrive in start up environments. Down the line, I would like to use the knowledge I am gaining about program development for current mayors to launch and improve similar programs for students interested in becoming mayors or other leaders at the local level. Today, we see a lot of organizing taking place in the forms of marches and protests. I would be great to work with the leaders of those movements in more formal programs that help them build skills to not only run for office, but effectively lead in office.