Growing up in a low-income community, I promised myself never to forget what it was like to feel invisible. We never saw our political representatives or felt that they listened to the needs of our community.

By the time I was three, I knew about homelessness; old guys would sleep under the stairwell in our apartment building. I learned first hand that it takes more than hard work to escape poverty. It takes opportunity.

As an undergraduate, I worked as a preschool teacher and came to understand my own experience and the pervasive effects of poverty on children and families in a new way. As a city council candidate, I ran to improve the lives of people who were struggling. When my husband and I chose to build our family through international adoption I became deeply aware of the devastating impact of poverty globally.

In the Master of Public Affairs program I have strengthened my leadership, policy analysis and advocacy skills. This opportunity has enabled me to focus on what I am most passionate about, improving the lives of children living in poverty and children left without parental care.