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Natalia Hernandez Berrios ’23 completes fellowship at Princeton

Natalia Hernandez Berrios ’23

Natalia Hernandez Berrios ’23 plans to leave her mark on the world.

“Immigrating to this country at an early age is one of the reasons why I became interested in human rights, public policies, and the world,” she explained. “I want a solid foundation in order to give back to my community. I want to learn and have a deep understanding of the policies that move the United States and other countries in order to create change in the future.”

Her future began to take shape at Randolph, where she took political science and economics courses as a first-year.

“The material covered was what I had been looking to learn since my freshman year of high school. It connected with some life experiences I had and allowed me to voice them,” said Berrios, who quickly declared a double major in global studies and economics.

She plans to continue her studies in graduate school, focusing on public policy or international affairs, and would eventually like to work on projects that address immigrant justice and equity issues.

“Many immigrants come to the United States to get a better education, better jobs, and a better future for their families,” she said. “The United States is built by immigrants but our public services do not reflect that. A degree in public policy would prepare me to make these changes happen.”

This summer, Berrios took another step toward her goals by earning a spot as a Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellow at Princeton University.

The fully-funded fellowship program was started to address the lack of diversity in professional public service careers, including government, nonprofits, public policy institutions, and international organizations.

The curriculum is rigorous, with graduate-level work that prepares students to eventually go on to obtain a master’s or joint degree in public policy, public administration, international affairs, or a related field. Over six weeks, they study economics, statistics, domestic and international policy issues, and leadership topics.

Berrios was among 27 students selected to attend Princeton, one of six universities that participates in the prestigious program. Completing a summer institute also qualifies fellows to potentially receive financial support for graduate school.

Her time at JSI helped Berrios hone her writing skills, while also diving deep into statistics and calculus. She also made connections through networking events with national organizations, senators, government officials, and other JSI fellows.

“It has given me the drive to finish my senior year strong,” Berrios said. “As an immigrant and Latina woman, it has opened up many doors for me and shown me how far I can go and reach. I am blessed to have met individuals who are highly motivated and are changemakers. They have come from all over the country, bringing different perspectives and ideas, but all with the same passion to learn and change policies while making a positive impact in the present and the future.”

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