Master’s Degree Candidate Chosen for Full-Tuition Grant

780 PROVIDENCE – Lauren Sumiko Combs, an incoming graduate student in Brown University’s Master's program in Urban Education Policy (UEP), was named the 2014 winner and the third recipient of the Ruth J. Simmons Urban Education Policy Scholarship, a full-tuition award. 

The Board of Overseers of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR) established the permanent, annual scholarship in 2012 for the UEP student who most epitomizes the former Brown University president’s commitment to education equity and social justice. 

AISR is a national education policy research and reform support organization that focuses on improving conditions and outcomes for all students in urban K-12 public schools, especially those attended by traditionally underserved children.

Originally form Hawaii, Combs is a 2012 summa cum laude graduate (B.A. Psychology) of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  After graduation, she volunteered for one year at the Center for Working Families, a school in Quito, Ecuador, that provides free education, vocational training and wrap-around services to low-income families. 

Since December 2013, Combs has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) to foreign scholars, diplomats and immigrants at the International Language Institute (ILI) in Washington, D.C.  Simultaneously, she co-founded a website and non-profit organization, “Read Between the Minds,” that provides e-mentorship for post-secondary advancement.

Just prior to ILI, Combs interned in the Office of Vice President Joe Biden.

Launched in the summer of 2006, the UEP program has since conferred degrees on over 100 graduates. The tightly focused, 12-month academic curriculum, integrated with a nine-month internship, is designed to impart a set of core skills and competencies necessary for successful careers in urban education policy.  The UEP program also provides a solid foundation for those anticipating advanced study in areas related to urban education policy. 

“The UEP program has established its prominence both on campus and in the larger education reform community,” said Brown Education Department Chair Kenneth K. Wong, founding director of the UEP program, and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Urban Education Policy, a chair endowed by AISR in 2005.  “Graduates of the program are now leading urban school initiatives around the country.”

Founded in 1993 with support from the Annenberg Foundation, AISR’s participation in the UEP program, from contributing to curriculum development to teaching to intern placement, gives UEP graduate students a unique opportunity to connect to the world of “practice” as they develop core skills via academic course work.