Maria’s undergraduate program with NVU culminated with the perfect experience for a political science major with a minor in pre-law — an internship with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy through his Burlington, Vermont office.
The semester-long internship “exceeded my expectations,” Maria said. “I have a grand dream about how politics could work, and this internship met that.”
Remote because of the pandemic, Maria was one of three interns who together prepared the daily news brief for staff, as well as worked with constituent calls and emails and tracked them in the system. She attended both Washington, DC and Vermont staff meetings, and helped draft letters of support for Vermont organizations as part of their grant application process. Senator Leahy “really works for the constituents of Vermont” on issues and helps secure federal funding for the state, she said.
One of the highlights of Maria’s internship was helping to draft a letter for a Vermonter that was entered into the Congressional Record
Maria “has always had a passion for politics and government and a desire to help others to make the world a little better,” she said. And she adds that her professor and advisor Dr. David Plazek was “key to my journey at NVU and fostered my interest in political science. He also encouraged me to apply for the internship,” she said.
Maria shared that she applied to quite a few schools before choosing NVU. “As a first-gen college student with the intention of going to law school, I wanted to get a bang for my buck” and not graduate with debt, she said.
The college application process was a little challenging for Maria, as it can be for first-gen students. “But once I got here, it was so easy. Everyone was helpful and quick to respond to her questions — both professors and staff, she said.
"NVU has been great," she said. "It’s provided me with many of the same opportunities as other four-year universities, with the bonus of small class sizes and engaged professors quick to help with internship connections and career-building opportunities. It’s helped me to get where I am now.”
Today, Maria is busy studying for the LSAT and expects to begin law school in fall 2022. "As of now, I am leaning toward a focus in civil rights law," she said, "but I know law school will open up my horizons to many different types of law and areas of interest!"