Daisa Guilarte ’11 spent the past summer preparing policy recommendations on significant topics, like American-European Union development aid collaboration as part of Princeton University’s Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute.
She was among 32 students selected for the program, which received nearly 500 applications. The intensive seven-week institute focuses on preparing students for graduate programs in public and international affairs and careers as policy professionals, public administrators and other leadership roles in public service.
Guilarte, who was born in Cuba and now lives in Hyde Park, Mass., is a political science major and Peace and Conflict Studies concentrator. After an internship with a Massachusetts state senator in high school, Guilarte fell in love with the challenges and opportunities public policy and politics provide. She continued her experience in these fields with several internships with prominent politicians such as the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and former Massachusetts state legislator Jarrett Barrios. With her passion for government and public policy in mind, Guilarte’s research on internship opportunities led her to the Princeton University institute.
The program introduced her to a graduate school work ethic. She prepared reports and recommendations on American and European Union international partnerships and wrote memos to the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding its response to Hurricane Katrina. The program’s graduates have incredible opportunities, like alumni networking and guaranteed scholarships for students pursuing a master’s degree at any of the program’s consortium schools.
She was also introduced to and taught by leaders in the public policy field, such as the former ambassador to Iceland. The participants’ final project was to present a major policy recommendation to a panel of experts. Guilarte’s group proposed that the United States and European Union should work jointly when offering economic aid to the developing world.
“I don’t think I slept the whole summer,” she says, “but the program furthered my interest in pursuing a master’s degree because I want to have an influence in changing events and [this experience] gives students the skill set to make these changes.”
She’s already used to working hard. At Holy Cross, Daisa is involved with the Peer Mentor program, the political science department’s Student Advisory Committee and is a senator-at-large in the Student Government Association. She also has an off-campus job with the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in Worcester during the academic year.
While still unsure whether she will pursue a master’s or a law degree, Guilarte recommends the summer program to anyone who is considering a graduate school career as it has given her the knowledge and exposure required to be successful in a graduate program. She also encourages all students to apply for competitive programs.
“I was surprised I was accepted to PPIA because it’s just so competitive,” she says. “Go out and do research on opportunities — there’s just so much out there!”
By Rachel Salemme ’12
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