Morristown, N.J. (September 7, 2016) – Jessica Nuñez, '17, calls Weehawken, N.J., her home, but doesn't spend very much time there. A resident student at CSE, Jessica has jumped on opportunities to explore her interests through internships, volunteering, and extra study, which took her to Washington, D.C., and to Philadelphia, Pa., to the Democratic National Convention (DNC).
While Jessica is an English major, she has developed an affinity for community and public service, particularly children's and family issues. Her journey to the DNC was indirectly promoted by Lynne McEniry, director of the Academic Success Center, and English faculty Kathleen Hunter and Margaret Roman.
Since she was a freshman, Jessica has dreamed of attending the semester in Washington Politics held at George Washington University each summer. At the beginning of spring semester in her junior year, she applied with encouragement from McEniry, Hunter, and Roman. McEniry mentored her process of applying for this highly competitive program that accepts only those with high GPAs and proven community service.
"At the end of March, I received my acceptance into the program," she proudly says. "I was accepted and I received some scholarship money! It was a dream come true!"
Jessica was to do an internship in D.C. at the same time. Her first choice internship did not work out, so she began to volunteer at SCAN of Northern Virginia, a non-profit organization that advocates for children and families in need. There she worked as an administrative assistant and helped to organize fundraising events. Her supervisor at SCAN referred her to the Children's Defense Fund in New York City as a potential interning site. She starts there in September, 2016.
Perhaps the most exhilarating part of her story was her invitation to attend the Democratic National Convention in July. As she was studying political management and politics of legislation and elections at George Washington University, her professor offered tickets to the DNC where she was to work with the Native American Council. She also contacted the New Jersey State Delegation and was a volunteer at the reception center, meeting and greeting legislators and delegates from all over the country. At the convention, Jessica met New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, Congressional Democratic candidate Bonnie Coleman, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
"I talked with Cory Booker and now have an internship in his office in the spring of 2017," she explains. "I believe that it is important to be assertive to get ahead – in any career, not just politics."
The best part of attending the DNC?
"I was on the convention floor when First Lady Michelle Obama was speaking. It was so amazing to hear her in person," she shares.
At CSE she is a student-athlete, playing soccer and lacrosse, balancing her academics and internships. She is also a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).
"I love CSE because of the personal attention from the professors," Jessica explains. "My professors know me and my ambitions and they mentor and support me in any way they can. My mother and my boyfriend have been a constant support throughout my entire journey and continue to do so."
Jessica is a strong advocate of networking.
"Talk to people and let them talk about themselves," she advises. "Keep in touch with people you have met and make sure that after an interview to write a real thank you note – not just an email. It helps people to remember you."
And her last piece of advice?
"Vote! My experience at the DNC opened my eyes to the fact that everyone who can, needs to vote."