Nicole Rios ’11 credits Montclair State University’s diverse community with preparing her for her internship at the White House as part of the White House Internship Program. This program aims to prepare students for roles in public service and leadership roles and make the White House accessible for the leaders of the future.
“MSU is one of the few colleges in New Jersey where students from all different geographic locations, ethnicities, and social classes can come together and learn with one another without any stereotypical feelings.” Breaking stereotypes is an important goal for Rios, who majored in History and minored in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was particularly inspired by some of the female faculty on campus, including Jill Hersh and Brigid Harrison. “I want to be able to become a successful woman without having people second-guess my ability to balance other roles that I might take on.” Multiple roles are nothing new for Rios, who balanced a full-time bank job while completing her bachelor’s degree.
Rios often continued her study of gender issues outside the classroom. She recalls discussing ideas from her gender studies classes with her fiancé and her family. Although they didn’t always agree, these dialogues became both a fond memory and a learning experience for her.
Montclair State University provided Nicole Rios for the skills she’ll need for a career in public service. She looks forward to a bright future leading and inspiring others.