Major: Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) with a concentration in economics
Profession: Legislative Correspondent, Washington, D.C.
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
What are you doing now?
I am a legislative correspondent for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz '94 (D-HI) where I oversee a mostly economic-related policy portfolio that covers tax, trade, banking, consumer affairs and the federal budget. I also work on immigration, agriculture, education and elections/campaign finance issues. A large part of my work entails drafting responses and replying to constituents who contact the Senator about issues in my portfolio (e.g. bills, current events, policy positions, etc.). Another bulk of my work involves supporting my policy advisors (the policy advisors who share one or more policy issues with me) by writing memos for them or for the senator and doing research.
How did you get there?
My experience with the Schatz team began with a summer internship (between my junior and senior year) at the Senator's Honolulu district office (every Member of Congress has a D.C. office and at least one office in their home state). After graduating in 2014, I started as a staff assistant in the same office. In 2015, I was re-assigned to the more policy-oriented D.C. office and became a legislative correspondent.
How did Pomona prepare you?
I think Pomona prepared me for my work in the Senate through a combination of interesting classes that were taught by excellent professors and opportunities outside the classroom that encouraged me to continue advocating for a greater cause.
When I think about the classes that were particularly relevant to my work, I immediately think about the economics courses I took with the incredible Professor Eleanor Brown (who was my academic and thesis advisor) and the American Constitutionalism class I took with the eloquent Professor Amanda Hollis-Brusky. The classes were challenging, and in the end, they reinforced my interests in economic/banking policy as well as set me on track to recognize the significance of law, respectively.
Most importantly, my work with the Draper Center [for Community Partnerships] as a volunteer and student coordinator also encouraged me to be cognizant of the socioeconomic challenges that exist in our communities. Having the Draper Center as an integral part of my Pomona experience instilled a strong interest in helping to address these and similar issues after graduating from Pomona.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I can see myself having earned a J.D. and starting a career in public interest, perhaps working in local or federal government.
Any advice for prospective or current students?
Pay attention to what you choose to do with the remaining time outside of your coursework. From my experience, the clubs you join, the events you participate in, and the organizations you serve are very telling of the type of work you would find to be empowering and meaningful. Pay attention to them early on, and do not hesitate to try something new. You've got nothing to lose and you won't find a more supportive place to embark on these explorations than at Pomona.