Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20

Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20 graduated from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky as a National Merit Scholar, National AP Scholar, and Salutatorian. At Henry Clay, she was President and Founder of Young Republicans and Service Coordinator of Y-Club. She participated in YMCA mock government conferences, serving as Youth Governor in 2015.

In college, Eliza Jane continues her work to elevate the voices of Kentucky’s youth in education policy discussions as Strategy and Development Coordinator for the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team. Past efforts include drafting and promoting a Kentucky bill which would allow students to serve on superintendent screening committees and coordinating a successful campaign to increase funding for state-funded, need-based scholarships.

At Dartmouth, Eliza Jane is a copy-editor for The Dartmouth, member of College Republicans, Outdoor Leadership Experience leader, and volunteer on Kelly Ayotte’s 2016 reelection campaign. She intends to major in English and minor in Public Policy.

As a First-Year Fellow, Eliza Jane interned at the U.S. Department of Education under the mentorship of Lauren Kennedy ’02. During her internship, Eliza Jane helped her mentor complete various tasks, such as creating a seven-year calendar of grant competitions. Additionally, she undertook a summer-long project culminating in a report on high-performing grantees that will be useful to prospective grantees looking to improve their relationship with the Department of Education.

According to Eliza Jane, her unprecedented experience as a First-Year Fellow allowed her to grow in her understanding of her professional interests. One of the most rewarding aspects of her internship was “the value of trying something new. I had experimented with journalism, research, advocacy, campaigns, and legislating, but I had never worked anywhere like ED. The hierarchy, the process-based mode of operation, the individual nature of the work, the sheer size of the organization—these were all new to me. But through trying something so out of my comfort zone, I learned a lot about myself. I will keep this lesson—that new and different are incredibly informative—in mind as I look for internships and classes in the future."