Meet the 2023-2024 NLC Menino Fellow: Tammy Dong

We are pleased to announce Tammy Dong (Pardee ’24) as the 2023–2024 National League Cities (NLC) Menino Fellow.

Tammy is a senior studying International Relations with a focus on foreign policy and security studies in Africa and the Middle East. She enjoys piecing together the puzzle of why the world is the way it is today, leading her to consider future work in government, nonprofits, or an international organization like the United Nations, among other career paths. Tammy grew up in New York City and still calls it her home when not studying in Boston. 

We asked Tammy a few questions about her interest in the fellowship:

What made you interested in applying for the NLC Menino Fellowship? 

In the last two years, I became increasingly interested in public policy whether as a possible area of future study or personal interest. In the summer before my junior year of undergraduate studies, I interned for a local assembly member in my city, an experience that reminded me how important it is for the younger generation to be aware of the problems threatening disadvantaged communities and what can be done to help them. This desire to contribute to socioeconomic change made me apply for the NLC Menino Fellowship. 

When did you become interested in cities?

Having grown up in New York City almost all my life, the city landscape has always been part of my life. I think while cities share many similar characteristics and face many similar challenges, there is also something unique about each city. Perhaps it’s the communities that call their city home that make it special. Although I am used to the energy in this densely populated and hustling city, I would also love to explore other cities in the future and experience a little of what living in other places must feel like. 

Why did you decide to focus on the history and effectiveness of New York City public housing policy for your directed study?  

I had known about the existence of public housing for a few years now, but it wasn’t until I met someone who was trying to get into public housing that I realized how dire the situation was. For the first time, I learned that some people wait even a decade before being accepted into public housing. It hits even harder to know that some of these people are working so hard to provide their children with a better future in a city where housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Since then, I’ve read more on New York City public housing, including the conditions of some of these units, and this ultimately led me to pursue this topic for my directed study. 

What are you most looking forward to in the spring semester during your internship with the National League of Cities (NLC) in Washington, DC?

I am most looking forward to learning more about the initiatives the National League of Cities is currently working on and being able to work with people in the NLC who’ve been in this field for longer than me. As I consider my career options, it’s always interesting to hear about what people do in their line of work and what drives them in their path. Washington, DC is the center of national policy, and many important decisions were and are being made there. I think being able to intern at such a place will be a life-changing experience that makes me think more about my role in this world.