It is a pleasure to be the newest addition to the Trellis Foundation team as this year’s Graduate Fellow. My academic background in education policy and political science aligns with the Foundation’s mission of generating equitable education opportunities for under-resourced students in Texas.

My interest in education policy and improving opportunities for students was not formed overnight. My first experience in educational attainment was through helping resource-constrained friends and loved ones navigate routes to higher education during my senior year of high school.

After witnessing the inequity of access to those closest to me, I chose to pursue a degree in Political Science at the University of Houston. The institutional knowledge I gained and the social capital the school offered led me to take part in an AmeriCorps program in Boston, which allowed me to work directly at a community school and implement educational programming built to maximize student achievement with minimal resources. While there, I fell in love with the work of creating equitable policy and undoing systemic failings surrounding contemporary poverty and education policy.

My experience with resilient students and families led me to the University of Texas for a master’s degree in Public Affairs, with a specialization in education policy. My goal is to see that no student has limited opportunities due to circumstances outside of their control, as no teenager should be made to choose between college application fees or grocery bills for their family.

I am excited to work with the Trellis Foundation, as I will be able to work hand in hand with vital philanthropic programs that serves students by improving educational outcomes.

About the Author

Johnathan Cheung, Graduate Fellow

Johnathan Cheung is currently a second-year master’s student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He focuses on education policy, with an emphasis on the intersection of equitable access through poverty alleviation and completion of post-secondary studies through educational intervention. Previously, Johnathan worked at an educational non-profit as an AmeriCorps member and a policy intern at District C in the City of Houston for Councilwoman Ellen Cohen.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Houston.