Political science major Siara Gutierrez will graduate with Ship’s Class of 2021 and she’s putting her degree to work managing a mayoral election campaign.

She began her Ship journey with the Academic Success Program (ASP), Summer Bridge, a four-week program that provides an extended orientation to support under-prepared students who have the potential to succeed in higher education. She wasn’t sure she was the best candidate for college, but ASP and the Department of Academic Engagement and Exploratory Studies gave her the support she needed to select a major and find a sense of belonging and community at Ship.

This community included the Student Government Association, Latino Student Government Organization, Pi Sigma Alpha and the National Residence Hall Honorary. It also included faculty in the political science department.

“The political science department provides students with the applicable skills to translate into the professional workforce. The faculty connect students with essential networking opportunities to start our professional journey before we graduate,” Gutierrez explained.

This networking lead her to internships that focused on advocacy and community organizing and inspired the work she hopes to do in the future.

“I do not know where I will be in 5 to 10 years, but I hope that what I am doing is making a difference in the community. I hope to uplift young people from marginalized communities by encouraging them to participate in the political process through voting, running campaigns and running for office,” she said.

She leaves Ship prepared to make a difference and thankful for the mentors who helped her along the way. Mentors she says guided her to success and pushed her to reach beyond her comfort zone. And the student who wasn’t sure college was for her, plans on tackling graduate school next.