Dominican Values Inspiring For Newest Panetta Intern

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After enjoying her high school experience at Marin County’s San Domenico School, Julia Reinhard ’22 elected to stay closer to home for her college experience. It was an easy choice for Julia, who realized the benefits of a smaller educational setting.

“Dominican’s community environment and small class sizes inspired me to come to Dominican. I knew I would be able to develop close relationships with my professors and peers and get involved in on campus extracurriculars just like I was able to at San Domenico,” Julia says.

“Additionally, the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service have highly resonated with me since I was introduced to these core values at San Domenico, and I wanted to attend a college that was centered around a similar mission.”

Julia immediately embraced her Dominican experience, working as a peer mentor and as a student worker in the Student Success Center and joining the executive boards of both the Dominican Political Science Association and the IGNITE Club.

The rising senior now is looking forward to new opportunities while serving as a congressional intern in Washington, D.C. Julia is the latest Dominican student to be selected for the prestigious Panetta Institute for Public Policy internship.

This summer Julia will go to the Panetta Institute in Monterey to attend a two-week orientation/training before working in D.C. as a congressional intern.

 “My goal with the Panetta internship is to absorb as much knowledge as I can and to serve my office to the best of my ability,” she says. “The experience that I will gain from this internship will help me learn more about public policy and discover the different occupational opportunities in public service. I want to shape my career around serving others with the ultimate goal of contributing to lasting change that will fortify our democracy and address systemic barriers to equity.”

Over the past two decades Dominican has led numerous students to Panetta Institute internships including:

  • Allison Kustic '21. After interning for then-Senator Kamala Harris’ Sacramento office, Allison is working as a Community Coordinator for the Marin-based non-profit SHE-CAN. SHE-CAN is a nonprofit that assists young women in post-conflict countries in attending U.S. colleges, connecting with influential mentors, and gaining leadership opportunities. She is working with fellow Panetta intern Kelsea Vaughan '15.
  • Allison Popovits '20 is working in the business development department for CarWash Unlimited.
  •  Delainey Boyd '19 earned an MA in Education Policy at George Washington University and is working as a scheduler at the US House of Representatives.
  • Sayra Trejo '18, a double major in communications and political science, soon will be starting a two-year teaching fellowship in August at The Thacher School in Ojai.
  • Samantha Hunt '18, a double major in political science and international studies, interned as an immigration assistant at E&M Mayock and then spent two years as field representative in the California State Assembly before being admitted as a J.D. candidate at Vanderbilt School of Law last fall.  She is currently an intern at Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands.
  • Crisha Carlos '16, a double major in business and political science, is a Financial Reporting Analyst for Ross Stores, Inc. 
  • Kelsea Vaughan '15 is Development Director at SHE CAN, a nonprofit that assists young women in post-conflict countries in attending U.S. colleges, connecting with influential mentors, and gaining leadership opportunities.
  • Daniela Levya '14 is studying for her Master’s in Library Science program at San Jose State University.
  •  Sydney Lewis '13, a double major in political science and English,  most recently worked for the Sacramento office of then-Senator Kamala Harris. 
  • Luke Webster-White '12 is a Program Coordinator for the County of Sonoma.
  •  Caitlin Vejby '11, a double major in political science and international studies,  most recently worked as a Legislative Aide for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
  • Juleah Cordi '10 is Senior District Representative for California State Assembly Member James Gallagher. 
  • Darcel Sanders '09, a double majored in political science and psychology, is CEO of GO Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that promotes equitable education systems and transformational public schools.
  • Kat Skiles '07 has had key jobs with Nancy Pelosi and Beto O’Rourke in her career. Today she is CEO and Video Producer of Narrative Creative Agency. Kat recently was named to Fortune magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” list.
  • Mel Atkins  '06 & ’10, a Dominican Trustee, is Associate Vice President, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley.
  • Molly Starr '02 Department Chair of the Social Studies Department at Nevada Union High School.

Julia’s interest in Political Science was inspired when she took a “Campaigns and Elections” class the first semester of her freshman year with Alison Howard,  assistant professor and chair of the Division of Public Affairs in the School of Liberal Arts and Education. Those class discussions plus a class “Introduction to American Politics, Policy & Society” the next semester convinced Julia to declare Political Science as her major.

“Alison Howard has been the most influential person for me at Dominican. I could not have dreamed of having a more supportive academic advisor and I feel fortunate to have been able to take four of Professor Howard’s classes and to have learned from being her teaching assistant this spring,” Julia says. “Professor Howard inspires me to stay curious about learning new things and to feel empowered about our complex political system.”

Julia also found inspiration and help from another Allison – Kustic – and Katya Palacios ’21. They had been interns for Marin County Supervisor Katie Rice and suggested Julia pursue the internship. She was tasked with continuing the 2020 Census outreach that Allison had started. Julia also helped create Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 communication and other County communications for the Board of Supervisors, Health and Human Services, and the Equity Team plus she supervised seven county interns and served as project manager for intern projects.

“I have become proficient in community outreach, developing public information messaging, and project management through my work and have grown my public speaking skills through giving presentations,” Julia says. ”I am thankful for my wonderful supervisor, Nancy Vernon, District Aide to Supervisor Rice, who has provided me with many opportunities to grow. I am also grateful for all of the connections I have made with county employees and my fellow interns. I will be interning through the end of July and will miss my work for the county.”

Julia received the Mother Mary Raymond Scholarship Fund to attend Dominican. It provides tuition assistance to legacy students pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University. Julia's mother, Lee Ann Wise, graduated from Dominican in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and Psychology.

Julia’s list of supporters and advocates at Dominican has extended beyond Political Science starting with Naomi Elvove in the Student Success Center who registered her for classes as an incoming freshman. Julia also is grateful for the guidance and skills given to her by Stacy Davidson, Jennifer Labovich, Christina Mayes, and Giulia Welch. They are on Julia’s long list of influencers at Dominican that includes Dr. Vania Coelho and Dr. Ben Rosenberg.

In addition, Julia is thankful for a psychology class she took with professor Afshin Gharib and a geology class she took with professor Amy Young that motivated her to add minors in psychology and ecology and environmental sciences.

“I have always been curious about how the human mind works and think that understanding psychology lends itself to studying political science because of the interdisciplinary connections that can be made between the two fields. I also have appreciated how my knowledge from the psychology courses has informed my self-awareness, awareness of others, and emotional intelligence; this has helped me in my role as a peer mentor and in working in different team environments,” Julia says.

“I am passionate about the environment and mitigating the climate crisis and wanted to add ecology and environmental sciences as a minor so that I could develop a strong foundation of the subject. I feel that my knowledge from these courses will help gear me towards a future working on environmental policies as well as make decisions in my everyday life to try and live more sustainably.”

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