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Julianna Roman Strived for Equity in Work as Maryland Public Service Scholar

Nicole Patterson

Julianna Roman in Annapolis

Julianna Roman, C’23, recently served as a Maryland Public Service Scholar in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP), where she completed important work on how to better preserve historic African American cemeteries and how to implement policy changes to help graduation disparity between English language learners and non-English language learners.

“I enjoyed every second of doing my part to encourage a more equitable and hospitable environment for all Marylanders,” Roman said. The Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), French and Spanish triple major added: “I believe the core courses as well as my PPE and language courses have instilled in me the desire to be curious, reflective and compassionate—which I believe are important skills for a public servant.” She is an Honors student and a Mount Fellow.

The GSIP, in partnership with University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), encourages and provides Maryland’s college students the opportunity to experience work at a nonprofit organization or government agency, explore and strengthen their understanding of the sector in which they are placed, gain exposure through meetings and networking events with Maryland’s leaders, and practice putting their knowledge and skills to work in a presentation to relevant stakeholders.

To gain experience, Roman was placed at the Maryland Historical Trust, her internship site, under the mentorship of Director Elizabeth Hughes. To explore and reflect on her public service, Roman attended seminars and produced three major projects outside of the internship.The hybrid format allowed her to attend meetings, events and have various networking opportunities. Finally, through practice, she put her knowledge and skills to work by providing analysis and recommendations to a working group.

“I was part of the beginnings of a study to establish a fund to better preserve historic African American cemeteries. The study was proposed in House Bill 1099 that had just passed through the Maryland General Assembly and was sponsored by Delegate Al Carr Jr.,” Roman explained.

She interviewed and collected data on the situation in each of the 23 counties, and a few cities, in Maryland, through cold calls, emails and Google Meets. “I created graphs and a PowerPoint which I used to present my findings to the historic African American cemetery working programs available across the country for the purpose of preserving historic African American cemeteries. There were not many,” she said. “From this study I was then able to make recommendations to the working group who would then create Maryland’s grant program for this purpose.” 

As a complement to her internship project, she worked on three additional projects for UMBC’s Shriver Center as a fellow: an equity project, a policy paper and a digital story. The Shriver Center at UMBC coordinates several Public Service Scholar fellowship programs on behalf of the state of Maryland. Roman’s first initiative was a group policy paper regarding her proposed topic to address the graduation disparity of English language learners compared to non-English language learners in Maryland. “We then had the opportunity to present our findings to members of Governor Hogan’s cabinet,” she added.

The second was an equity project. “I wrote a reflection paper discussing my own position in the matrix of oppression as well as what I had learned about my agency in completing the project by creating an artistic representation of what I had learned through this process,” Roman explained. It became the driving force for her focus in her recommendations to the working group for the grant fund for the preservation of historic African American cemeteries, she said. Her final project was to create a digital story that shared her journey to this fellowship and to public service.

Roman first heard about the internship through the Mount’s Career Center and was paid a $2,000 stipend for her participation in the program. Additionally, she received funding for travel and hotel accommodations from the Mount’s Office of Competitive Fellowships and worked part-time as a server at Café del Sol and volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade store, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

She is currently treasurer of the French club, vice president of the Italian club, a member of the Sigma Delta Phi Hispanic Honors Society and a Mount tutor for French, Spanish, Japanese and economics. Roman has studied in Dublin, Ireland; Cuenca, Ecuador; and Tours, France. While in Ecuador she interned as an archival assistant at the Bienal de Cuenca and as an English teaching assistant at the Universidad de Cuenca.

Nicole Patterson