Emma Kern is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Social Solutions. A Master of Public Policy student in the Ford School, Emma joins the Center to help track and follow large donations made to social justice funds.

"2020 has seen a large influx of pledges by major corporations and foundations to combat racial injustice in the United States through financial investments. The goal of this project is to hold them accountable through transparency and impact evaluation," she explains. 

First hearing about CSS through a course taught by Earl Lewis, she found the Center's work particularly germane to her skills, interests, and identity. "Academically and professionally, I am passionate about advocacy and social justice, and I hope to use my policy analysis skills in the field to translate those passions into tangible systemic change. My personal experiences in tandem with the intersection of my identities drove my interest in immigrant rights, equal access to education, and racial equity. The Center’s work closely aligns with my research and personal interests, so I was excited by the opportunity to get involved!"

An ardent language learner, Emma spent time working in refugee resettlement which helped her gain a deeper understanding of how to navigate language barriers. "Even learning a few words in someone else's native language can express respect and empathy." 

Outside of U of M, Emma serves as a Budget and Policy Intern for Hawai’i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, where she previously conducted a summer internship. She worked on their State of Poverty Report that takes a deep dive into the roots of systemic poverty in Hawai’i and provides state-level policy recommendations to address them.  Additionally, Emma is an avid board game player and a music enthusiast, and passionate about quality family time. 

Welcome, Emma!