Courtney Harper is a 2021-2022 Fellow. Courtney is a native Detroiter and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from DePaul University.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

I work for Detroit Public Schools Community District as a Program Associate for the Department of Family and Community Engagement. I work on various projects such as Student Leadership Development Program, the Parent Teacher Home Visit Program, and Kindergarten Bootcamp just to name a few. 

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on; what are you learning from the experience?

We recently finished a project with the organization Brilliant Detroit, and my team specifically worked with the Morningside location. I have learned that Brilliant Detroit’s goal is to increase community engagement with youth within the city of Detroit. They are trying to find ways to draw youth into their programs with the goal of giving children productive activities to do after school. 

How do you hope to impact the community as a Fellow?

As a Fellow I hope to touch the lives of youth within the city through my host company and the other organizations I work with. By helping restructure and revamp these organizations, I get the chance to touch the lives of inner city youth. 

Since becoming a Fellow, what new skill/skills have you gained?

I have strengthened my communication skills, leadership, and teamwork skills. When it comes to leadership and working on teams, I now know how important it is for every team member to be present. Also, as a leader you might have to take on tasks and projects that you were not expecting. When it comes to  communication and networking, I have learned that it is okay to reach out for help. People are willing to help you in any way possible. You just have to speak up. I have also learned that you always have to advocate for yourself, don’t wait for others to try to read your mind, always take the initiative to stand up for what you believe. Adapting was a skill I picked up as well—everything does not always go as planned but the outcome is what you make it. 

How do you believe your fellowship year will shape your career moving forward?

I believe that my fellowship experience will shape me into a more well-rounded person. I am networking and building strong relationships with my colleagues, both at my host company, DPSCD, and with my Fellow cohort. Since my fellowship year started, my leadership and communication skills have improved tremendously and is something I will continue to work on in the future. It has taught me the importance of networking and building relationships which only helps to further your career. I have also learned the importance of balancing work and personal life. I believe that the tools I have picked up while being a Fellow and working for my host company will help to continue an ever evolving career path. Although I have learned a tremendous amount so far while being a Fellow, I know there is always room for growth.

If someone is reading this and considering applying to be a Fellow, share why you would encourage them to apply?

I would encourage someone to apply because the networking opportunities and experience gained is tremendous. There are endless opportunities to meet corporate colleagues which helps to to expand and build relationships with like-minded individuals.