Patrick Gill

Patrick Gill

Assistant Research Director


Children At Risk


Educators and students operate within an education system that was built by policymakers, and many of the challenges they face can be addressed through understanding and working to change that system.

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Deciding to go to Notre Dame was huge. The school is so service-oriented, that I knew I wanted to devote my life to others very early on being there.
For many years I thought I wanted to go into foreign policy, but my interest in education and related issues of access and equity developed late in college. I switched majors to reflect this new path.
I did a year of service after college through a program called City Year, and the students I worked with in a public school on Chicago's South Side in that year shapes my worldview to this day.
I worked for nonprofits for years after college, never able to save up enough for grad school. I was able to go because the program I found had lots of aid built in. Look for those opportunities!
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Granite Bay High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Political Science and Government, General
University of Notre Dame
graduate
Graduate
Public Policy Analysis, General
University of Houston
Career

Career

Assistant Research Director

I conduct policy research and analysis and utilize data to advocate for education policy change.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Politics
Politics
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

Sometimes I spend a lot of my day at a desk crunching numbers, reading studies, and doing independent research. But the great thing about Children At Risk is that we really orient our data analysis and research toward action and policy change, so we also interface with other folks working in the policy space often. We meet with legislators, other public officials, education practitioners, advocates from other organizations, etc. to build advocacy coalitions and help drive systems-level change.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Building my statistical analysis skillset, both in basic knowledge of how to navigate and clean publicly available data sources and more specifically in my knowledge of statistical software such as Stata and R, has been critical. Do more than you think you need. If your program only teachers Stata or SPSS, teach yourself R and SAS. This will help you be more marketable and adaptable. Take advantage of workshops and other professional development opportunities to build this portfolio.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

A lot of organizations (like mine) have many internship opportunities that can be structured around school and other jobs. Take advantage of those to gain exposure to the policy world.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Statistics, General
undergrad
Bachelor
Political Science and Government, General
graduate
Graduate
Public Policy Analysis, General
graduate
Graduate
Statistics, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"Why aren't you going to law school? If you're interested in education, why don't you become a teacher? What does it even mean to do public policy analysis and research?"

Educators aren't the only folks making a difference every day in education. Educators and students operate within an education system that was built by policymakers, and many of the challenges they face can be addressed through understanding and working to change that system. Also, if you want to study something like political science or history (I studied both in undergrad!), it is completely OK to not want to go to law school. Do what you love, and you can make a difference!

Challenges I Overcame

Family Mental Health Issues
Family Mental Health Issues

Growing up with a parent diagnosed with bipolar disorder created a lot of issues, but it also gave me a much deeper understanding of what so many in our society battle every day. I try to use that empathy in my work to bring a human element to data.