Student Story

Make Your Voice Count: Julianna Fernandez '21 on the Importance of Voting and Activism

What made you choose to pursue your major?

I'm a political science and international relations major and history minor, and I love the classes! I enjoyed AP US Government in high school. Then I took courses with Professor Horn and Professor Doherty during my first year and fell in love. Their classes were so interesting and engaging — I wanted to know more. The Political Science and International Relations Department at Simmons is super friendly and welcoming!

What do you hope to do with your degree?

I’m interested in policy and research. I’m hoping to do something behind the scenes in the legislative process. I’m also considering law school as a possibility in my future. If I were to practice law, I think I’d be interested in civil rights law. I also want to move to D.C. in the near future!

Tell us about your internship experience at the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus (MWPC).

We help elect women into office and work on civically engaging women. I specifically work with the political action committee (PAC), working on marketing our events! I make detailed marketing plans and create digital content. I’m also responsible for assisting in the endorsement process and assisting campaigns endorsed by the MWPC PAC. I’m hoping to understand another lens of the political sphere — PACs — and develop my skill set!

Tell us about this experience working on political campaigns.

Julianna at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate in November 2019.
This is me at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate in November 2019.

I have worked on two different political campaigns. My favorite part of both of these campaigns is engagement with the community and with voters. I find a fair amount of enjoyment cold calling voters across my swing state of Colorado and hearing the wide variety of opinions and thoughts. GOTV (Get Out the Vote) is always rewarding because you’re directly helping people with voting. Campaign work is challenging, but campaign workers are some of the most dedicated people you’ll ever meet. They care deeply, and they want to see their communities thrive.

Why is voting important to you?

Voting is important because it directly affects people’s lives. Elected officials have the power to change the way government works and how we live our lives. Voting is a way of making your voice and interests counted. In my own community, I’ve seen how something as small as a county commissioner can profoundly affect the lives of constituents. I also don’t think voting is the answer to everything — activism is also a vital tool. Both are major ways anyone can participate politically and create change.

What is your favorite Simmons memory?

My favorite Simmons memory is attending the New England Women’s Policy Conference with my friend Gail in our sophomore year. It was all about women in politics — we even attended sessions that encouraged young women to run for office. Professor Pechulis also attended! The #MeToo movement founder, Tarana Burke, spoke — it was deeply inspiring, and I will never forget her valuable words.

At the New England Women’s Policy Conference in November 2018 at the JFK Library. From left: Julianna, Gail Tynkov ‘20, a Simmons alumna, and Professor Pechulis.
At the New England Women’s Policy Conference at the JFK Library in November 2018. From left: me, Gail Tynkov ‘20, a Simmons alumna, and Professor Pechulis.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself!

My fun fact is always that I’m from Colorado! I was born and raised there, and it will be my forever home.

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