Barry McNamara  |   Published December 22, 2021

Semester in D.C.

Monmouth’s Petersen to study and work in nation’s capital during first months of 2022.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – To her already impressive résumé, Monmouth College student Gabriela Peterson will soon add another entry. The junior from Southwick, Massachusetts, will spend the spring semester in Washington, D.C., through The Fund For American Studies.

GABRIELA PETERSON: Junior will spend spring semester studying and working in Washington, D.C. GABRIELA PETERSON: Junior will spend spring semester studying and working in Washington, D.C.A political science and chemistry double major, Peterson has received other prestigious honors. At the end of her sophomore year, she was selected to be one of 12 participants in the College’s Kieft Summer Research Program. During the fall semester, she was one of four finalists in Monmouth’s annual moot court competition.

Fluent in Spanish, Peterson is also a member of the Fighting Scots’ cross country and track teams.

After hearing about the Washington opportunity, which has a focus on international affairs and public policy, Peterson was convinced to move forward on her application by the last Monmouth student who participated in the program, Hadley Smithhisler ’20.

“She’s at law school at Indiana University, so I texted her about her experience,” said Peterson. “She told me all about it and said she highly recommended it.”

Classes and an internship

The Fund For American Studies experience includes four days of political science classes a week at George Mason University. Peterson will take classes in international economic policy and U.S. foreign policy, plus a seminar course. The credits transfer to Monmouth, so Peterson will actually complete the political science portion of her degree while off campus.

On the fifth day of the week, Peterson will participate in an internship. She’s leaning toward working with the non-profit Mil Mujeres, an organization that addresses the growing need for bilingual legal services for the U.S. Latino community.

“It’s a law firm that deals with a lot of issues that immigrant families face, particularly victims of violent crimes,” said Peterson.

When Peterson returns to campus next fall, she’ll pick back up on the science end of her double major. Looking ahead, she plans to merge her two majors in law school, potentially going into environmental law.

“I’m looking at the University of Vermont,” she said. “They have high diversity in their environmental law programs, things like fossil fuels and animal rights. It’s a super-interdisciplinary program.”

Peterson will also pick back up on her collegiate running next fall, and she’ll prep for her senior season by doing workouts in D.C. that have been suggested by her Monmouth coaches.

“I’ll be training through the entire semester in Washington, both for the team and for myself,” said Peterson, who scored for the Scots at last fall’s Midwest Conference meet.

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