Think Small is proud to host two Todd Otis Public Policy interns in 2022. The internship welcomes Eidan Silver and Quynh Nhu Dao to learn firsthand about early learning policy in the state.
“I am excited to have Quynh and Eidan on board with us for this legislative session,” says Marie Huey, Leader of Public Policy and Advocacy. “It’s wonderful to learn alongside individuals who have experience in the field and are interested in learning more.”
Todd Otis, a former Minnesota lawmaker and early education advocate, retired from his role of Senior Vice President of External Relations at Think Small in 2017. The internship was established to honor Otis’s lifelong advocacy career and his work as a change-agent in early childhood. The interns will work with Think Small’s policy team to advance the organization’s public policy priorities.
Eidan was born and raised in Bloomington, Minnesota and is currently attending the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where he is completing his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Public Health and also pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School.
He has worked with young people in a variety of settings including at People Serving People in the early education center and as a soccer coach with Soccer Shots.
“I applied to the Todd Otis internship because I wanted to support early development in Minnesota’s youth from the public policy standpoint. I have been an assistant teacher at a pre-k school in Minneapolis and am currently a youth soccer coach. I know how important early development is and have seen the positive outcomes created by well-resourced childcare.”
Silver says that his time currently has been great and he’s been enjoying meeting some of the wonderful people who make Think Small function.
In the future, he hopes to be a policy analyst specializing in education policy. Outside of his career, his goals include hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, living in a different country at some point, and one day competing in his favorite game/ reality show: Survivor.
Quynh Nhu Dao
Our second intern Todd Otis Public Policy intern, Quynh Nhu Dao, received a B.S. in developmental psychology in undergrad at the University of Minnesota and currently working towards a master’s in education policy and says the internship would be a great opportunity for her to start her journey of creating a meaningful impact.
While interning, Dao hopes to gain the skills and knowledge needed to further understand early childhood and its importance while gaining proficiency during the legislative processes.
“Having a steppingstone opportunity like this [Todd Otis internship] will help to develop the analytical skills to create a practical solution for the long term,” says Dao. “Like the name of the organization, “Think Small,” one must obtain the essential resources and skills before getting to solve the bigger problem.”
Quynh was involved in VSAM (Vietnamese Student Association if Minnesota) as well as PES (President’s Emerging Scholars) during her time at UMN. Past graduate school, she hopes to continue her work locally in Minnesota with the focus on improving the achievement gap regarding racial and socioeconomic disparities.
Additionally, she plans on staying within the nonprofit route and hopes to work at organizations using policy analysis to solve educational problems within our society.