Miles Sandler (she/her)
Before becoming a National Urban Fellow, Miles was a single mother with a three year old running an after school program. Even with the most supportive family, she was struggling to make ends meet and have the impactful career she’d imagine. Pursuing a Master’s degree felt like the way to do that, but it would have been impossible for her to afford taking on additional student loan debt.
“I knew that I had a vision for my life. I knew I had a concept of where I wanted to go, but I did not have a roadmap,” Miles reflected.
Stumbling across NUF, she recognized this could be exactly the opportunity to propel her towards her goals, but felt intimidated by the prestige of the organization.
“I felt like I wasn’t at the caliber of the applicants they were attracting,” Miles admitted. She didn’t let her feelings of being an imposter stop her from applying anyway.
While Miles saw the benefit of a fully-funded Master’s program, National Urban Fellows is more than just an education, it’s an experience. The curriculum deepened her worldview, the leadership training and mentorship challenged her to grow, while being in fellowship with her colleagues infused wisdom, knowledge and expertise into her life.
“All of it provided me the tools and resources I needed to take the next step in my career. And the experience was really hard! It was a challenging 14 months, but it truly made me realize that I had everything I needed to accomplish anything,” declared Miles.
Miles’ fellowship afforded her the opportunity to see classroom concepts impact real lives. But, she attests, the most valuable aspect of the program is making connections that can help shape the roadmap for your path forward.
“NUF allowed me an access point that I wouldn’t have had,” said Miles. “After graduating, I landed at National League of Cities because of NUF. I wouldn’t have even known an organization like that existed if I hadn’t gone through NUF.”
National Urban Fellows is a synergy of leadership, mentorship, and fellowship with other people of color that provides personalized support to help design a trajectory that allows you to create a career worth having.
“Being able to go through a program not only that opened up doors, but also created less financial burden to receive a Master’s degree was huge. I literally don’t see that I would be where I’m at right now, if I hadn’t have walked through that first door.”