Participating in student government early in her Meredith career sparked an interest in politics for Cristy Villalobos, '17.
"My time as freshman class senator helped me realize that I wanted to expand my participation in politics outside of school. I enjoyed the sense of community that I got from that experience."
Since then, the political science major has taken advantage of many opportunities provided by Meredith's location in North Carolina's capital city.
"I shadowed three Meredith alumnae who worked for the governor. This was a life changing experience because I was inspired to get involved in state politics. They encouraged me to intern at the North Carolina General Assembly. I started working there in the late spring of my freshman year."
Cristy has continued this internship for three legislative sessions. She also participated in Meredith Votes, the College's voter registration, education, and turnout effort. A campus event featuring women candidates strengthened Cristy's belief in the importance of political participation.
"It helped me understand how important being involved in politics is for women. Because we’re historically unrepresented in local, state, and national politics, it’s up to us to make a difference."
In the summer of 2016, Cristy was one of two Meredith students who attended both the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Democratic National Convention (DNC). These trips were sponsored by Meredith's political science program.
"The opportunity to attend both conventions was appealing to me because I wanted to experience history. It was one of the best learning experiences in my college years."
Cristy and her fellow students were able to see the political process up close, while making connections.
"Our Meredith group attended delegate breakfasts, receptions, and other social events at the RNC. I had fun meeting new people and I bonded with some delegates. At the DNC, we attended a lecture about the impact that the election will have on the Supreme Court, which provided me with an interesting viewpoint of the judicial branch."
Another favorite Meredith memory is her induction into Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society. "This was a long term goal of mine – I’d wanted to join it ever since I took POL 100."
Cristy was awarded a 2016-17 fellowship from WomenNC, a women's advocacy organization. Through this fellowship, she was one of three North Carolina college students selected to present at the United Nations’ 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which was held in March 2017 in New York City. WomenNC also presented Cristy with the Carolyn S. King Award honors the legacy and example of Carolyn King, an advocate and pioneer for women’s rights and for racial and social justice.
Cristy plans to attend law school. She will take with her the knowledge and confidence she has gained through her undergraduate classes.
"At Meredith, I've become comfortable in asking questions. I enjoy seeking answers even when there’s no conventional solution to some issues."
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