Hello, readers of the MPPA Blog! I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping healthy during these times. My name is Hope Ramos and I am currently in my fourth term with the MPPA program at California Lutheran University and I am also the 2019-2020 Gallegly Fellow! There have been so many opportunities that I have been blessed with whilst being the current Fellow and wanted to share my experience with those currently going through the application process.
With the Gallegly fellowship, I am able to conduct research of my choice and focus on a topic that is close to my heart. My family owns almond and walnut orchards in Northern California and since the disastrous 2012 drought, they have had an incredibly hard time maintaining a proper water source. My research, that I have been focusing on since my undergraduate, and is now my thesis, will be focusing on farmers in Northern California and their perceptions of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Specifically, these farmers will be coming from Yolo and Solano county where a majority of crops use an abundant amount of groundwater, such as almonds and walnuts. However, groundwater is becoming more scarce with recent droughts and a lack of proper regulations on the natural source. This is changing with the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act which is meant to benefit farmers and their agricultural practices. However, has there been any change since its creation in 2014, and have farmers benefited at all from it? Do farmers think that it has been or will be effective? I want to look at this state policy from the perspective of the constituents that it is meant to be supporting and protecting, and determine whether it is beneficial or not. Policy work is something that I am very passionate about and I want to make sure that any type of policies is being properly implemented for the benefit of the constituents of California.
Naturally, I have always been a very shy person, and meeting new people and strangers can be a bit of a difficulty for me. But as the Fellow, I have been able to attend a couple of mixers and events where it has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and mingle with some amazing individuals. I have been able to attend events at the Ronald Reagan Library where I have met city and local officials and listened to important figures in the community speak on issues happening throughout the area. I have also attended events where donors have been present and have been able to personally thank them for their generosity, and share my story and experiences with them.
My Family and Future
The Fellowship has really been a big blessing on not only my life but for my mom, as well. She is a single mom who has always worked full time to support us. With the help of the Reagan Library and the Gallegly’s, they have allowed me to pursue a higher education whilst allowing my mom to stay finically stable. She knew how much I wanted to pursue higher education, and supported my decision but was worried about how she would be able to put me through a master’s program. When I told her that I had received the Fellowship, I remember how happy of a day it was in our household that I not only was able to continue on with my education but also know that my mom would not be finically burdened. I am also thankful that if I want to continue on to my Ph.D., then I will be able to proudly put on my application that I was the Reagan-Gallegly Fellow.
And these are just a few of the opportunities that the Fellowship has given to me! It has been a blessing in mine and my family’s life, and I am so thankful to the Reagan Library and the Gallegly family for supporting me throughout my master’s program.
I wish everyone applying to the Fellowship, good luck, and no matter what, you will love the MPPA program!
Best and continue staying safe,