Victoria Emm C’17 learns about influencing change.

Emm: "There's a difference between discussing politics and taking action."
Emm: “There’s a difference between discussing politics and taking action.”

As a civic scholar, Victoria Emm C’17 has worked with adults with dementia, taught children with developmental disorders and raised awareness about LGBT issues and equal rights. She experienced a different kind of public service, however, as a summer intern for U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

“I learned the function of federal offices, my position on politics and the many ways I can influence change in the future,” Emm explained.

The Toms River, N.J. resident worked in constituent services for the senator. Her tasks included advocating for residents of his district, writing memos about international and domestic issues and participating in events, such as one announcing the awarding of a federal grant to the East Orange Fire Department.

VictoriaEmm_Cory Booker
Spends seven weeks in Booker’s Newark office.

Booker, a Democrat and former mayor of Newark, N.J., has been a senator since 2013. He’s one of two N.J. senators; the other is Bob Menendez.

In her seven weeks at Booker’s office in Newark, Emm learned quite a bit while touring sites such as the Customs and Border Protection office of the Department of Homeland Security, Newark Liberty International Airport and the New Jersey State House. She also attended presentations from officials at the FBI, Secret Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Perhaps her biggest takeaway from the experience is the importance of citizen participation. “It was disappointing to see that not many young people cared or seemed to be aware of the important laws that were being voted on and the fact that they could have a say in what Senator Booker’s vote would be,” Emm said. “There is a difference in discussing politics and taking action to influence them.”

At Drew, Emm is a junior class senator, member of the cross country team, writing fellow, member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and singer in the a cappella group All of the Above. Her future plans include more government-related internships to explore career possibilities, with the overall aim of achieving lasting change.