While interning for Senator Orrin Hatch in Washington, D.C., on his education policy team, JaKell Larson realized that while higher education policy was her passion, she preferred working on policy at the state level where “you can make more of a difference. “At the federal levels,” she says, “I found that it’s not all that impactful for individual students. Instead, it gives you a bird’s eye view of the whole.” Her interest in the state level higher education policy led her back to Utah where she had graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While at UVU, she was also student body vice president and a Presidential Intern.
Working with higher education policy at a state level, she says, “allows us to compare institutions across state, implementing best practices among the different institutions.”
As student regent, Ms. Larson is excited to get first-hand knowledge of the higher education issues within in the state. “In Utah,” she says, “we are making great strides in education, but there’s more to be done, and I wanted to make a difference.” One issue she plans to focus on is helping bridge the gap between high school students and incoming college freshman, helping them navigate college applications, receiving financial aid and understanding the FAFSA.
“I want to make sure that students are the first people in mind and that higher education is serving students. The student voice is vital to the health of education in the state.”
Ms. Larson has been accepted to the University of Utah’s Master in Public Administration where she plans to study education policy. She will start the program in fall 2018.