Student works towards government career goals

After Magdalena Madrigal, senior political science major, won the 2017 Verizon Wireless Intern of the Year Scholarship, she decided to pursue the policy aspect of political science.

Madrigal recently completed the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus Internship at the Indiana General Assembly where she won the award and is also a part of the Lake County Young Democrats.

Madrigal said her recent accomplishments have instilled a new confidence in herself.

“When I applied for my internship I never thought I would receive it because of the pool of people I was competing with, but it also taught me not to compare myself to others,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal’s political science studies began with a dream of law school. Since she was a child, she only considered careers in law and medicine, Madrigal said.

“I can’t deal with human bodies, so law school was the end goal,” Madrigal said.

She began to pursue this goal by becoming a political science major, but about two semesters ago, Madrigal’s focus on law school began to fade.

“The more I became aware of what being a lawyer would entail, like the education and long hours of work, I realized I didn’t want to actually become a lawyer,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal attended a law school forum where she spoke with former law school students who are now practicing lawyers. After speaking with them on their perspectives of law school and practicing law, she realized she was not as passionate about the career as she should be.

“I just find knowing laws and drafting them into a debate fascinating,” Madrigal said. “I am in the midst of finding what I am exactly passionate about.”

Madrigal’s focus has shifted from law to policy and influencing policy within government. She is learning of the different occupations in her field of interest.

Madrigal credits Frank Colucci, associate professor of political science, as one of her motivators. Madrigal said Colucci was one of her first professors and pushed her to make experiences for herself. Madrigal also said he made sure she was aware of scholarships and ways to get involved with politics, such as motivating her to begin the Purdue Democratic Chapter and to be in the Lake County Young Democrats.

“Although the Purdue Democratic Chapter fell through, I was still able to learn about what it takes to keep an organization going,” Madrigal said. “I feel like I wouldn’t have done that without his motivation and believing in me.”

Madrigal said she has become confident in living on her own and being involved in campus and the community. One of Madrigal’s biggest influences has been her mom.

“She always taught me to work for every dollar, but also to put myself in a position to make enough money and live life to the fullest,” Madrigal said.

Kenyatta Scales, PNW campus ambassador and co-worker of Madrigal, met Madrigal through family and friends, but became close to her when they both began attending PNW together.

“She is very open and honest and will always make people feel at ease,” Scales said. “[She] isn’t afraid to take the lead and always is on top of things.”

Outside of the classroom, Madrigal enjoys fitness, nutrition, YouTube and catching up on ”Stranger Things.” She likes to stick to a schedule and routine and has applied this to her internship and preparing meals.