April Youth Profile

Allison Wu is truly an inspirational student, working at the local and national scale, to change education policy, to understand the role that STEM education plays in modern education, and to work to be an active advocate across several fields. Currently, Allison hopes to give students a chance to improve the education system at the local and national level, by evaluating and changing policy. Her current project involves working with youth nationwide in evaluating different policies and in conducting case studies to help change education in the United States. Allison works in conjunction with other active students that are involved in creating a national youth engagement strategy, to mobilize students at the national scale.

She has always been involved with youth issues, as shown by her work with the nonprofit Minga, which aims to end global child sex trade by empowering teens.

She originally started to work in policy concerning education because she was grateful to have an excellent education. “Education truly is the foundation of solutions to the problems plaguing our world today, because education, and its components of STEM and extracurricular involvement, is an effective way of making changes happen.”  

Allison has always wanted to be a role model. She recalls her elementary school yearbook, in which she was quoted as saying that, even as a 5th grader, she wished “everyone would get an excellent education.” At the age of 14, she read a 2009 TIME article published about Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education, who had been actively promoting the involvement of teachers at the national level. She wrote a letter to the editor, which was published in a subsequent issue. It expressed her opinion that students should have a voice in education reform as well. Idealistically, she hoped that her letter would spark change, but when it didn’t, she decided to take an active role.  After some research, she found out that this field hadn’t been explored in depth.

She knew it was right for her.

Allison is passionate about many different topics. STEM education is at the top of her list. She recalls that, one of the ways that her “classmates got involved with STEM was through hands-on activities that not only show students the material, but also present it in an engaging way.”  Robotics is popular at her school. “It provides the extracurricular opportunities for students to do projects that involve real-life components, and provide hands-on experiences.”

She hopes that working on public policy, including that which addresses STEM education, can affect the dropout crisis. One of the ways to fix this is to get students involved, and find solutions through youth. The more roles that youth can play in education increases the odds of students succeeding. “When we are given the opportunity to shape our education, we become more invested in it and want to help ensure our peers receive a great education,” Allison said.  

That’s the present. In the future, she plans to change lives in a positive way, though she is not sure about the future, though she hopes it retains elements in her work in public policy or social entrepreneurship. Whatever it may be, she aims to always be a change-maker in her community.

  • To learn more about her work, or to stay updated, please follow Allison on Twitter! @allisonswu