Barry McNamara  |  Published May 18, 2022

Senior Profile: Natalia Garcia

Thanks to professor’s tip, recent Monmouth grad Natalia Garcia secures Springfield internship, fulfilling assurance made during her recruitment.

NATALIA GARCIA: International studies and history double major receives her Monmouth College dipl... NATALIA GARCIA: International studies and history double major receives her Monmouth College diploma May 15 from President Clarence R. Wyatt.MONMOUTH, Ill. – When Natalia Garcia of Berwyn, Illinois, was looking for the right college choice four years ago, her Monmouth College admissions counselor Peter Pitts made her a promise.

“He took me and my mom to Starbucks,” said Garcia, who graduated from Monmouth on May 15. “He told me that Monmouth is the kind of place that I’d be able to network and find employment through faculty and alumni.”

That assurance – and the opportunity to continue as a goalie in water polo – were the major factors in Garcia’s decision to enroll at Monmouth.

One of Garcia’s political science professors, Robin Johnson, fulfilled the promise made by Pitts, who retired three years ago after helping attract more than 2,000 Chicago-area students to Monmouth during his 27 years with the school.

“Professor Johnson forwarded me an email about an internship and told me it would be a good opportunity,” said Garcia.

She acted on the suggestion and on Sept. 1 will begin a 10-month stint in the state capital of Springfield, serving as a legislative intern in the Illinois Senate’s communication department.

“I’ve been interested in government and politics since I was a little girl,” said Garcia. “My parents were very civically involved, and they’ve always encouraged me to vote and that type of thing. I’ve campaigned for politicians at every level, mostly local ones.”

HEADED TO SPRINGFIELD: Natalia Garcia will begin a 10-month internship in the state capital on Se... HEADED TO SPRINGFIELD: Natalia Garcia will begin a 10-month internship in the state capital on Sept. 1. In the meantime, she hopes to help on a political campaign.Between graduation and the start of her internship, Garcia is hoping to find related work, which might lead her to the Republican-leaning state of Arizona.

Wherever she lands, she wants to help campaign for the November midterm elections.

“I want to be part of the generation that puts forth progressive change,” she said.

Garcia chose international studies as a major, along with a history major and minor in political science. She said she appreciated gaining a global perspective.

“International studies gave me the opportunity to learn about the political science discipline through democracies around the world, not just the United States, which was basically all I was exposed to in high school,” said Garcia, whose parents were born in Mexico. “I especially enjoyed learning about the histories and governments of Latin American countries.”

Johnson wasn’t the only professor Garcia got to know on a much closer level than what would have been the case at a larger school.

“I do love it here. I think I’m really going to miss it. I’m really happy to have chosen to come here. … My education at Monmouth was more than I could ever expect.” Natalia Garcia

“I really enjoyed the close connections with my professors,” she said. “That’s the thing I like most about Monmouth – that your professor can also be one of your friends. (History) Professor (Amy) de Farias was my adviser, and she helped me all four years I was here. (Political science) Professor (Mike) Nelson gave me a lot of advice about life after college.”

As she looks back, Garcia can still picture herself in that Starbucks, with a big decision in front of her.

“I do love it here. I think I’m really going to miss it,” she said. “I’m really happy to have chosen to come here. … My education at Monmouth was more than I could ever expect. It’s all about what you make of it. Whatever you do, if you go in with a positive outlook, you’ll make memories and friends and have an even better experience than you’d think you have.”

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