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Etna Tiburcio

Chief of Staff, Education Pioneers; 2020 EP Alumna

What led you to apply to EP?
My decision to apply to EP was twofold: EP’s mission and values resonated deeply with my personal values, and my professional background aligned closely to the needs identified in the COVID Response Fellowship. I am driven by my commitment to serve communities of color and I found a genuine alignment with EP’s work. In addition, as a public health professional who has worked within the education sector, I saw an opportunity to leverage my background and lens to support a district in responding to this pressing public health challenge.

What projects or initiatives did you undertake as a Fellow?

I spearheaded COVID-19 vaccination outreach and education for 250 employees and 1400 eligible students across four campuses. I also instituted structures and policies informed by federal and local public health guidance to conduct contact tracing, respond to positive cases and exposures, and create safe environments for in-person learning. In addition, I managed a $40,000 federal grant to support implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies.

How did EP shape your leadership growth and/or professional trajectory?
EP created an environment that empowered Fellows to respond to the unique challenges posed by the pandemic. Having access to a network of supportive alumni and mentors provided a valuable space for collaborative problem-solving concerning project obstacles within our placements. Having this space has allowed me to continue growing as a leader and to continue making a meaningful impact in the education sector. 

What were some key learnings or takeaways from your Fellowship experience?
Collaboration, adaptability and empathy were key in navigating challenging situations. As the pandemic brought unexpected changes, it was important to collaborate with others to leverage diverse perspectives and expertise and adapt and be open to new approaches. Additionally, it was also important to understand the needs of stakeholders and foster meaningful connections to drive towards creating a safe school environment. These learnings have remained true for all roles I have held since then. 

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