This month's featured member is APPAM Student Board Member, Eric Henderson! Eric (he/him) is a skilled policy advocate with experience in local and state policy advocacy, budget advocacy, and community organizing. He has a demonstrated track record of working with diverse groups to design, advance, and implement policies that improve lives. Before joining ACLU Cal Action, he worked in roles focused on criminal justice policy advocate and research.
Title/Organization: Legislative Advocate at ACLU California Action.
Degrees: Master of Public Policy from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from UCLA.
Can you tell us about your current research/and or role?
Currently, I am a Legislative Advocate at ACLU California Action. I'm focused on protecting and expanding civil liberties and constitutional rights through policy and advocacy and work directly on statewide criminal justice and police practices legislation. Working to create change in the criminal justice policy area is a passion of mine and one I spent most of my time researching in graduate school.
What are you working on this year that excites you most?
This year, I am particularly excited about the potential for progress in criminal justice reform. There is growing attention on this issue, and I am hopeful California can continue to serve as a leader in the area.
You’ve been involved in APPAM leadership roles over the last few years. What has your time on the APPAM Policy Council or time spent as an E&I Fellow been like?
My time as an Equity and Inclusion Fellow has been invaluable. I've had the chance to connect with other policy professionals and fellow students from diverse disciplines, learn from their experiences, and grow my professional network. My mentor is incredibly supportive and encouraged me to pursue different opportunities, including being on the APPAM Policy Council.
My time on the APPAM Policy Council is relatively new, but thus far, it's been great. The Council and APPAM staff are focused on making the organization inclusive and more responsive to the needs of APPAM members. It's been a fantastic opportunity to learn from an experienced group of people.
As a recent graduate, what advice would you give to students considering a career or degree in policy analysis?
For students considering a career or degree in policy analysis, my advice would be to pursue your passions and stay curious. Policy analysis is a diverse field with a tremendous opportunity to make a difference. Do not be afraid to explore the many pathways where you can make a difference, be it academia, government, policy research, policy advocacy, or elsewhere. I especially encourage students to get involved in professional organizations like APPAM to meet like-minded people.
Outside of your work, what do you do for fun?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending quality time with my friends and family, hiking, and exploring new coffee shops.