Growing up in the Capital District, I was well aware of Siena’s fabulous reputation. Aside from going to basketball games as a kid and rooting for the Saints, I knew many people who attended. While it was exciting to hear about the wonderful education they received, what really stuck with me was its sense of community. Students constantly spoke about Siena’s way of life. The amazing teachers who were so invested in their students, and the camaraderie among the students themselves. When it came time to make a decision about college, it was not a difficult choice.
I entered Siena unsure of what to study. After a semester however I learned more about the Political Science department and began meeting with its Professors. Dr. Vera Eccarius-Kelly was especially helpful, and explained to me the benefits of a political science education. Political science not only taught me the mechanics of political systems, but also embedded instruction on history, philosophy and law. It was a well-rounded program that helped me develop the values that define who I am today.
My semester abroad in London was not only one of the defining experiences at Siena, but of my life. I learned about the opportunity through Br. Brian, and immediately jumped at the chance. For three months, I interned in the House of Commons for a Member of Parliament. Working with a Member of Parliament prepared me for a career in politics, and helped me excel when I became a Policy Analyst at the New York State Senate. Additionally, I was able to travel to Paris, Venice and Munich. All of this would not have been possible without Siena’s amazing Center for International Programs.
This is a really difficult choice, but I would have to pick the Human Rights Seminar taught by Dr. Laurie Naranch for three reasons in particular. First, while examining some of history’s greatest atrocities was difficult, it imparted in me a strong sense of social justice that I carry with me to this day. It continues to inform all my work. Second, it was a difficult and intense course that helped me develop a great work ethic. Finally, Dr. Naranch was my favorite teacher at Siena. She always had her door open when I needed help, encouraged me when I needed it, and pushed me to become an excellent researcher. Following this course, I continued to work with Dr. Naranch on my Honors Thesis.
Currently, I’m a Senior Policy Analyst at the Seattle Jobs Initiative. There I evaluate the effectiveness of SJI’s workforce development program for low-income individuals, conduct research on an array of policy issues, and participate in workforce system reform efforts. Siena prepared me for this work in numerous ways. The education I received helped me become an excellent analyst. Additionally, I learned how to use the statistical program SPSS at Siena and it is now a key piece to my position. Outside of that, the work ethic and sense of communal responsibility I developed helps me immensely in my work to increase the social mobility of low-income individuals.
Class of 2008
Political Science Major