I am truly grateful for the opportunities that the College’s Social Science Scholars Program has been able to provide me with. The Social Science Scholars Program gave me a supportive network of students, both in my own class and from past cohorts, who I could talk to on a range of issues from involvement on campus to pursuing an undergraduate honors thesis. Not only has this program provided me with the opportunity to further myself both personally and professionally through gaining real world experience in data analytics, but without the Social Science Scholars program, I would certainly not have found myself in an internship that allowed me to apply concepts I learned in the classroom at Florida State to a meaningful cause where I could help further affordable housing advocacy in my community.
Without the Social Science Scholars program and guidance, I would not have had the opportunity to discover my career passions and how I want to translate the in-class learning I receive to my practical real-world applications. This summer I learned how nonprofits work on a deeper level, how my own identities shape the work I want to do in the future, and how social issues like homelessness are being addressed in cities across the nation.
Without the generous funding and informative leadership seminar that Social Science Scholars provided me with, interning with an organization abroad would have been unimaginable. I am so thankful for the summer experience of living and working in rural Costa Rica. Through this trip, I was able to directly impact the communities of Playa Samara and El Torito by engaging the children in lessons that contribute to their personal growth. Interning with La Asociacion CREAR has also provided me with an intercultural experience that has allowed me to view the world through a new perspective.
My internship and broader experience within the Social Science Scholars program helped me gain a clearer focus on my plans post-graduation. I have decided to use my fourth and final year as an undergraduate at Florida State to fulfill requirements for dual degrees in Political Science and Spanish. I already intended to pursue a graduate degree, but some of my conversations with executive staff during my internship led me to reconsider my program of study, and to shift away from political science and toward data science. My ultimate goal is to work in either state or federal government, or as a researcher at a think tank, and to be able to use both my political science background and my data science skills to craft robust, empirically-derived public policy.
I was stunned by how little could be done within the legal system to support people who had been deported from the US and was instead drawn to the power of the media to shape public discourse. I hope to build experience to one day write for a popular science magazine and work to bridge academia with outside communities.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience and am heavily considering going into production following graduation. What I liked most about the role as an underwriter for a wholesaler was seeing the balance of multiple layers of responsibility. As a broker, it is important to maintain your relationships with both your carrier underwriters and with your agents. To gain trust from both sides, it is important to be an expert at what you do—be ethical, know your contracts and guidelines, and show integrity.
From this experience I developed an interest in issues such as state policy capture, in which policy decisions are directed away from the public interest towards a specific interest and can undermine democratic values and trust in government. My summer experience has served to empower me achieve my goals of one day conducting research, writing, and lobbying for policy which protects civil liberties and mainstreams human rights with a regional focus of the Middle East and North Africa. I intend continue my education to assist in similar endeavors and high-level policy research and analysis at a broader level.
Due to the funding provided by the Social Science Scholars, and in particular my donor Marshall Cohn, I had some of the best experiences to last me a lifetime. I traveled to the former capitol Ayutthaya, went snorkeling in some of the clearest oceans I’ve ever seen, and even joined a football league (soccer in the U.S.). I’ve tried dishes I can’t pronounce and sang karaoke to Japan’s greatest hits. I’ve laughed with some really funny and kind people, and I’ve cried with those same people. Words can’t put into context the journey and fulfillment this opportunity has offered. I’m truly humbled to have had this experience and I believe it has changed me as a person.
My time in the Tallahassee Mayoral Fellowship Program, has exposed me to the influence that local governments have in their communities, as well as the challenges that they face every day. I look forward to having more valuable
experiences in local government through the Fellowship Program, in which I will be able to grow and learn.