Simmons Student Chosen as Newman Civic Fellow

April 07, 2017

Bryn McCarthy

We caught up with Bryn McCarthy '18 '19GS about being chosen as a Newman Civic Fellow!

What are you studying at Simmons?

I'm in the Political Science/Public Policy 3+1 program! I graduate from the undergraduate portion of the program in 2018 and the graduate program in 2019.

How is Simmons helping prepare you for your career?

Simmons has a great number of research opportunities for undergraduate students. When I've applied for internships and other positions in the past, employers are always very interested in the amount of research that I've accomplished thanks to Simmons. In the Political Science Department, there are courses like American Public Policy and Politics Unplugged that seek to teach career-enhancing skills like technical policy writing, research, and oral briefings. I think learning those skills really gives Simmons students a leg up when they graduate.

How are you involved at Simmons?

I was the treasurer of the Trans and Nonbinary Collective last year. I co-founded and am treasurer of the Pre-Law Liaison. I'm the Research Assistant for Dean Catherine Paden doing research involving interest groups and their impact on national policymaking. I do independent research with Professor Lena Zuckerwise and with her as my mentor this summer I'll be working on a research project through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Simmons (SURPASs). I'm also a panelist at the New England Political Science Association's 2017 Annual Conference for my paper with Professor Zuckerwise on contract theory! 

Where are you interning?

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. I meet with members of the public who feel as though they have experienced discrimination in employment, public accommodation, education, or another field, and I help them write and file a legal complaint containing their allegations. 

I've also worked on the enforcement side, where I investigate cases of discrimination by collecting documentation and evidence, review cases, and write dispositions on whether or not probable cause exists. This internship has been a really great introduction into public interest law, and has made me consider going to law school after Simmons!

Tell us about being chosen for the Newman Civic Fellowship

I was really excited to be chosen for the Fellowship! I think it's great to be involved with a nationwide group of Fellows with similar goals and ideals. As a Fellow, I hope to continue my work on public policy through research and community action.

How were you selected?

Each college and university nominates a Newman Fellow on the basis of demonstrated investment in community-based solutions. I was nominated by some lovely individuals in the Women and Gender Studies Department after I spoke at the Bread and Roses annual dinner about some of the work I had been doing. I met with Professor Kristina Pechulis, who was the one who actually got the Fellowship implemented at Simmons, about my research and policy work. Finally, my nomination was signed off by President Helen Drinan. I'm most excited for the national convening of Newman Fellows in November 2017, right here in Boston! 

What's your Simmons moment?

I have a lot of Simmons moments, and I'm not trying to be cheesy! 

One that stands out was getting the email from Professor Zuckerwise asking me if I'd like to expand a paper that I had written in her Nature of Politics class to submit to the New England Political Science Association conference. I was (and am still) shocked that a professor would reach out to me individually to collaborate on a paper.

I think that's really emblematic of Simmons — the focus on mentoring and small class sizes that allows students to have opportunities that they simply couldn't find at another school.