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A Passion for Policy: Beki McElvain

Beki McElvain. (Image courtesy of Beki McElvain)
Beki McElvain. (Image courtesy of Beki McElvain)

Graduating senior Beki McElvain has accomplished a lot at Mills College. Along with completing her B.A. in public policy, she founded The Policy Forum, Mills’ first public policy publication, which provides a space for open policy discussion and discourse. In the summer of 2013, McElvain also attended  the International Summer Exchange Program hosted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – a university ranked number one in the World’s Top 300 Asian Universities for the past three years.

“I participated in a research project outside of Guangzhou, where we studied the cultural sustainability of villages during the rapid urbanization of China,” McElvain said.

McElvain explained that her Mills thesis, “Oakland Chinatown: Displacement Risk and the Ethnic Economic Enclave,” was inspired by the summer exchange.

The list of her accomplishments goes on.

Last week, McElvain was presented the Most Outstanding Senior in Public Policy award – an award only given to a graduating student who has demonstrated both academic excellence and service towards the local and Mills communities. Moments like this made McElvain’s list of favorite Mills memories, which also includes her Chinese classes, Loke Davis’ tennis classes and the quiet days in which she would walk the trails on campus.

But she is on to great things. After being accepted into several of her top choices for graduate school, she chose to pursue a master’s of city planning at UC Berkeley with a focus on urban design, community development and affordable housing for the Bay Area.

“I feel incredible,” McElvain said. “I remember someone telling me many years ago that college was never an option for me. But check me out!”

When asked what she will miss the most about Mills, McElvain said it would be her peers.

“I will miss the Public Policy kids the most. I’ve got some great memories of long study nights in Reinhardt, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to replicate that incredible closeness of my comrades when I’m at Berkeley,” she said.

McElvain is grateful towards her mentors, friends and professors. It is the education and faculty at Mills College, she explained, that prepared her to meet her goals.

For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.