Alumna Still Leading From The Ground Up
Juleah Cordi’s career in public service began long before she arrived at Dominican University of California in 2006. Growing up on a 60-acre farm in rural Sutter County, where approximately 88% of land is used for farming or grazing, Juleah’s long-time goal had been to pursue a career focused on agricultural policy.
At Dominican, where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics, Juleah gained insight, support, and the skills that prepared her for a political career. However, hands-on work in Washington, D.C. during her undergraduate years led Juleah to realize that her true passion was living and working alongside people in local communities, addressing issues from the ground up.
“I graduated from Dominican with a more robust understanding of our system of government, stronger critical thinking and communication skills, leadership experience, and work experience.” Juleah says “All of these skills have proven indispensable in navigating an ever-changing array of projects and issues that need to be tackled. Dominican gave me the confidence to not be afraid to roll up my sleeves and dive into anything.”
DOMINICAN UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS AND PROGRAMS
Immediately after Dominican, Juleah went to work for the Sutter County Resource Conservation District, where she had previously interned. She also immediately started graduate school, eventually earning her master’s in public administration from California State University, Chico. Today, Juleah is the District Coordinator for State Assembly member James Gallagher.
Juleah is among a growing list of Dominican alumni who began their careers working in the public sector after graduation. They include:
- Delainey Boyd ’19: Delainey recently finished her MA in Education Policy at George Washington University and is working as a scheduler for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Samantha Maciel ’17, who majored in political science and minored in ecology and environmental science, most recently worked as a field representative in the Sacramento office of then-Senator Kamala Harris. Prior to joining Senator Harris’s staff, Samantha worked on a congressional campaign and interned for Senator Dianne Feinstein.
- Talia Gonzalez ’17, is currently working as a Senior Administrative Clerk at East Bay Municipal Utilities District. She majored in political science and minored in history.
- Carson Niello ’14, majored in political science and is currently a Deputy Attorney General at California Department of Justice. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a Constituent Services Representative for Sen. Dianne Feinstein. During college he interned for former Sen. Barbara Boxer and Representative Jackie Speier.
- Luke-Webster-White ’14 majored in political science and is a Program Coordinator for the County of Sonoma.
- Sydney Lewis ’13, who double majored in political science and English, most recently worked in the Sacramento office of then-Senator Kamala Harris. She previously worked as a staff assistant for Sen. Barbara Boxer.
- Caitlin Vejby ’11, who double majored in political science and international studies, most recently worked as a Legislative Aide for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
- Kat Skiles ’07: After graduating from Dominican with a degree in political science, Kat launched a career that has led her to key jobs with Nancy Pelosi and Beto O’Rourke and now two new titles: CEO and Video Producer of Narrative Creative Agency and a spot on the list of Fortune magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40.”
Dominican’s size and welcoming community were initial draws for Juleah, who attended Live Oak High School and the U.S. House Page School.
“I knew that I wanted to go to a small school where I would be more than a number in a seat. I wanted to get involved in my university, I wanted to know my professors, and I wanted them to know me,” Juleah recalls. “I wanted to grow personally and professionally, as well as academically. When I toured campus, it felt like home, like I belonged. The academic scholarship I was offered helped make my choice a reality.”
Juleah’s interest in politics started in fifth grade and started unexpectedly. That’s when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“I needed something positive to do about my disease,” Juleah recalls. “That turned into local lobbying because they needed the cute, little kid face, and I was still cute, that would pull at your heart strings and bring an emotional touch to it.”
Juleah applied for Children’s Congress and attended a convention in Washington, D.C. for children with juvenile diabetes. She lobbied her own local members of Congress and took part in the National Walk and a Senate hearing.
“That is truly where I fell in love with politics,” Juleah says. “After that, I was hooked.”
“By the time I got to college. I had been involved in politics for more than six years. I had already lobbied elected officials, been an advocacy spokesperson, had varied media exposure, and worked in both local government and Washington D.C. I came into Dominican knowing I wanted to work in government/politics.”
Juleah kept going back to Washington, D.C. First as a congressional page while in high school. Then, entering her senior year at Dominican, as a member of the Panetta Institute Congressional Internship. Juleah was one of 25 students from California state and private universities chosen to participate in the 10-week program. She was placed with California Congressman Sam Farr.
Throughout college, Juleah remained active in as many hands-on political activities as possible. She interned for three summers with the Sutter County Resource Conservation District, where she learned about budgeting, grant writing, and government contracts. During an internship with a County Administrator's Office, Juleah worked to rewrite and update the county's operational policies and worked with the elected board and department heads.
Juleah had originally planned to major in business and minor in political science - a choice she felt was “practical.” However, a conversation with Dr. Christian Dean helped Juleah realize that political science in the School of Liberal Arts and Education could provide the type of skills that would help her get hired. The university’s focus on weaving the liberal arts into the curriculum provided both a rigorous and well-rounded education as she broadened her political skills and her personal interests.
One of Juleah’s favorite memories of Dominican was participating in the VoteSmart Challenge during the 2008 presidential election. Her team was assigned to research and present the positions of the presidential candidates on foreign policy. The VoteSmart presentations attracted 1,200 people to campus to discuss the most important issues in the 2008 Presidential election.
“It was time consuming, challenging, and very rewarding,” she recalls.
Juleah also worked in the Admissions Office, was a resident advisor, served on the Student Judicial Council, helped start the Political Science Club, and attended an undergraduate research conference.
“These experiences helped me graduate with stronger communication, organizational, and leadership skills,” she notes.
Dominican also provided Juleah with dedicated and encouraging faculty who are still part of her life.
“My faculty mentor was (and still is) Alison Howard. While at Dominican, I took every class that Alison taught. She has always had a quiet, unimposing way of telling me that I can do better, of pushing me.”
Photo of Juleah Cordi during wine harvest near family farm