Eileen Pomeroy by bookshelves in the Jepson Faculty Lounge

Eileen Pomeroy, '23

March 3, 2023

Eileen Pomeroy’s goal is simple: Communicate public policy in a way that is informative and accessible to a broad audience. This past summer, the senior from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, did just that while working as a reporting intern in Chicago for Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization with an education focus.

Her first week on the job, she covered a Chicago Teachers Union press conference where teachers and parents raised concerns about the possibility of Chicago Public Schools cutting a program for students with hearing disabilities.

“I submitted a public records request for information on the program,” said Pomeroy, a leadership studies and journalism double major. “It took a month for Chicago Public Schools to send me the information, and when I got it, much of the data had been redacted. The experience of reporting on this issue opened my eyes to the challenges and inequities students face.

“At Chalkbeat, I learned where to find stories, how to request information, and how to use the information I received to report accurately on issues, so families will know what is going on.”

Her academically grounded Jepson School of Leadership Studies internship at Chalkbeat is but one of many journalistic experiences she has had. For her journalism capstone, she first covered the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session for Capital News Service and now covers local government, social issues and public policy.

During her study-abroad semester in London last spring, she interned with Healthwatch Camden, an organization that champions health care and related public policy for residents of the London borough of Camden.

“I contributed to reports and created social media content that informed the public about Healthwatch initiatives, such as where to get COVID-19 vaccines,” Pomeroy said. “My internship helped me understand public policy in an international context.”

A 2021 remote internship with the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities gave her an up-close look at U.S. policy, she said. She reported on and tracked policies such as Build Back Better, President Joe Biden’s sweeping economic plan.

She also assisted Jepson School professors Thad Williamson and Julian Hayter and University of Richmond senior administrative officer of equity and inclusion Amy Howard with research on their forthcoming book on politics and governance in Richmond, Virginia, from 1980-2016.

“In doing archival research on Richmond, I saw in detail many of the big structural inequity themes we discussed in my leadership studies classes,” Pomeroy said. “I’d ask, What parts of Richmond’s story should be included in this book? Whose voices need to be heard?”

In the future, she hopes to work as a journalist covering public policy, she said. Her interest in this field developed during her first year at Richmond when she took introductory journalism and leadership studies classes and started writing stories for the Collegian, Richmond’s student-run newspaper.

“A lot of my story ideas come from what I’ve learned about policy and social inequities in my Jepson School classes,” she said, “but I could not produce those stories without the reporting and writing foundation I got in my journalism classes.”

Update: In April, The Jepson School named Pomeroy a 2023 Jepson Scholar, awarding her an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the University of Oxford, where she will pursue a Master of Public Policy.