By Panop (Nop) Phongpetra ’23
For our next Public Policy & Law (PBPL) Voice Profiles, meet Camille Valentincic! Camille is a senior currently double-majoring in Public Policy & Law (with concentrations in Education and Urban Policy) and French. Below, read our meaningful conversation with Camille as she reflects back on her experience being a PBPL major!
- What sparked your interest in Public Policy & Law?
- I took AP Government in high school and that really solidified my interest in law and government. I initially thought I’d be a Political Science major, however after one of my friends brought me along to a Public Policy networking event my freshman fall, I was inspired by all the different careers alumni had, so I signed up for 201 that spring. I’ve been hooked ever since and every class I’ve taken in the department has been so engaging, interesting, and insightful.
- What has been the most memorable class you have taken in the Public Policy & Law department?
- Although I’ve never taken a PBPL class I didn’t enjoy, one of my favorites was Professor Fulco’s Title IX class. Looking back even to middle school, I’ve always had an interest in education policy. This was the first course I had taken that specifically covered this area of the law and I was drawn in immediately. As college students ourselves, education policy is particularly salient, especially in the Title IX context. Not only did we study Title IX policy on the national scale, but we also evaluated Trinity’s own guidelines. It was very interesting to learn about these policies and then see how they played out in my life. I found this subject matter so interesting that I decided to write my senior thesis on transgender student protections under Title IX.
- How was your internship experience? How were you able to relate academic work with your internship experience? Were there any specific courses in the Public Policy & Law department that helped prepare you for the internship?
- I worked at the Insurance Association of Connecticut (IAC), a lobbying group based here in Hartford, in the spring of 2021 as a Government Relations intern. It was a great experience as I was exposed to alternate careers for people with law or policy degrees and I was also able to observe the policymaking process in real life. I found that my experience writing policy memos and briefs for class was particularly useful since I had to write recaps of committee hearings and memos summarizing the pertinent legislative developments each week.
- I also worked with Professor Falk last summer to research Old-New Gate Prison, the oldest state prison (now museum) in the country. This experience greatly developed my research skills as I was able to study a niche topic for an extended period of time. I greatly enjoyed diving into my research instead of being constrained by a course syllabus. It was an awesome experience, and I was able to add new findings to the literature surrounding the early Connecticut justice system, as well as work with a great group of dedicated professors, students, and community members.
- What are some suggestions and words of counsel for students interested in majoring in Public Policy & Law?
- People often ask me what the difference is between Public Policy and Political Science. My short answer is that Pub Pol is more solution orientated, while Poli Sci is more theoretical (at least from the experience I’ve had with the major). I’m a problem solver and I like that Public Policy focuses precisely on that. I also think it’s a great major for students with a lot of interests. Like I said, I’ve always had an interest in education policy and I also love history; the major encapsulates all of these, along with endless other areas of law and society. Policy truly affects every aspect of our daily lives, and for this reason I think it’s a great option for anyone who wants to develop their critical thinking and writing skills in a high applicable and relevant area of study.
- What are your plans for the next five years? How do you think your internship experience prepared you for your future career?
- In a few short weeks, I’m starting a full-time position as a Legal Practice Assistant at Skadden LLP in Manhattan. As of right now, I intend to work there for a couple of years to gain some experience and exposure to the legal world before applying to law school. Though I’m fairly certain I want to continue my legal studies, I’m not 100% set on anything and I’m open to whatever opportunities come along! I think our Public Policy program is fabulous in that sense as I know it’s prepared me for jobs across the board and not just in the legal sector.
To view other PBPL Voice Profiles, click here.