Juan began his studies in Political Science at Bridgewater State University before transferring to Northeastern in January 2017. While here, he majored in Political Science, minored in Urban Studies, and was a recipient of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Juan’s coursework at Northeastern, deep commitment to his community, and numerous professional experiences have enabled him to effectively pursue a career in public service.
Juan’s family immigrated from Colombia to Chelsea, Massachusetts when he was a child. Growing up, he witnessed and experienced hardships and disparities within the Hispanic community which motivated his passion for public service.
During his transfer process, Juan had his heart set on Northeastern due to the co-op program and the prominent professors within the Political Science Department. With his goal of pursuing public service in mind, Juan was excited to take advantage of the opportunities to learn from Northeastern’s faculty and gain direct experience in politics.
“I wanted to get as much experience as I could at all levels of government—local, state, federal, and even international—and Northeastern offers students a multitude of those opportunities.”
Juan found the following courses particularly transformative:
POLS 3307. Public Policy and Administration with Professor Michael Dukakis, which analyzes the structure of and dynamics inherent in public policymaking and public administration in the United States. Juan was impressed that Professor Dukakis tries to build a relationship with each student, and he was fortunate enough to be his student assistant for over a year after taking the course. As his assistant, Juan prepared course material, conducted guided research, and coordinated meetings between government officials.
POLS 2399. Research Methods in Political Science with Professor Kirsten Rodine-Hardy, which examines the range of research methods and designs used in political science. Juan noted this course was critical for learning how to develop effective research papers and projects.
POLS 2350. State and Local Politics with Professor John Portz, which examines the political and administrative context of the state and local government in the United States. This course gave Juan an essential understanding of state and local legislative processes that he would later draw upon in his work experiences.
Juan interned for the Mayor of Salem, Kimberley Driscoll, in Summer 2016. As a Legislative Intern, he researched the impact that short-term rentals and ride-sharing applications have on communities. In Fall 2017, Juan returned to Salem as a Campaign Fellow for the Committee to Elect Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.
In January 2018, Juan completed a co-op as a Legislative Intern for Senator Edward J. Markey. While working for Sen. Markey, Juan conducted research with the foreign policy team on nuclear non-proliferation and reported on current issues. This experience was influential in furthering Juan’s skills in policy and messaging.
Juan grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts where his family experienced multiple incidents of racial discrimination. After taking the course, State and Local Politics, Juan felt compelled to put into action what he was learning in class. He reached out to local officials and spearheaded the creation of a Human Rights Commission. As an appointed member of the commission, Juan organized an education outreach program to inform constituents of their rights and protections against discrimination.
Juan served as a Student Delegate in the U.S. Congress-Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program in Seoul, South Korea in Summer 2018. He researched unification efforts of the Korean Peninsula, visited the Demilitarized Zone, and met with North Korean refugees.
In Spring 2019, Juan studied abroad in Seville, Spain to better understand Spanish culture and how the transition to being a democracy has affected the country.
Juan participated in a Dialogue of Civilizations in Geneva, Switzerland in Summer 2019. He spent two months at the United Nations Office where he engaged with world-renowned diplomats and scholars and expanded his knowledge of diplomacy and international politics.
Juan will continue his work as a Truman Scholar by participating in the Summer Institute held in Washington, D.C. in May 2020. He graduated from Northeastern in December 2019 and hopes to work on a political campaign for the 2020 election cycle. Juan knows that wherever he ends up working, it will be in the public sector and will be supported by the skills he developed in the classroom, as well as his experiences in co-ops, internships, and political campaigns.
“The experiences I gained at Northeastern have really set me apart in the public sector. Not only have I developed the skills to write a great research paper or policy memo, but I can put those skills into action.”
Learn more at: Northeastern Department of Political Science