Bojan Francuz ’13
Steven Garza ’13
Political science majors gain valuable experience at seats of world power
Many dream of the chance to become part of the inner workings of influential governing bodies, but for two St. Norbert political science majors, that dream has turned into reality.
Bojan Francuz ’13, intern at the European Pariament
Bojan Francuz recently returned from a month-long internship in Brussels, Belgium, where he worked in the office of László Surján, vice president of the European Parliament.
“It was a fascinating experience to be there, to be at the center of Europe, at the center of the European policy and decision-making,” he says.
The internship is intended to promote the aims of the Charta XXI Movement, a peace and reconciliation initiative focused on central east European nations.
An international student originally from Serbia, Francuz wrote press releases and reports, attended committee meetings, and familiarized himself with the European Union (EU) and its current activities in the European Parliament.
Francuz credits coursework for providing the ability to transition into and make the most of the opportunity. “I was very familiar with the EU structure, the way policy is made, and the way the system works,” he notes, “so I was able to translate that knowledge.”
In addition, his work as a political science teaching assistant, which has included the coordination of events and conferences at St. Norbert, provided a solid foundation for performing similar work on a larger scale.
During his internship, Francuz helped initiate and organize “Edict of Milan: Celebrating Religious Liberty in Europe and Across the World,” a conference scheduled to take place on June 5, 2013, in Brussels.
Steven Garza ’13, intern at the White House
Meanwhile, Steven Garza is embarking on a political adventure of his own as he heads to the White House for an internship in the office of the chief of staff during the spring semester.
“I was in complete shock when I was accepted, and to some extent still am,” Garza says. “I have always held a deep belief in public service and community involvement, but I never imagined I could serve my country on such a grand scale.”
Within this role, interns work alongside staff members. Tasks potentially extend into building and maintaining relationships with officials and advocacy leaders, taking on issues related to policy and research, and handling general administrative work.
In his journey leading to the White House, Garza points to the support he received from several St. Norbert faculty as a key element in guiding him through the application process and preparing him for this opportunity.
“Their open door policy, mentorship, and excitement to help students succeed shaped me into the student I am today,” he says.
Garza will have the chance to pass along some of this mentoring while he works with students at a D.C. public high school and carries out the White House internship program’s belief in the mission of public service and community involvement.
A word from the adviser
Gratzia Villarroel (Political Science) serves as adviser to both Francuz and Garza. She says, "They both are very bright and came to St. Norbert College already prepared to excel and succeed. However, the multiple local, national, and international academic experiences they have had throughout these past few years exemplify just how well promising students can do in a liberal arts institution like St. Norbert College.
"We offer so many unique and exciting opportunities for our students that it’s almost impossible to experience them all, though Steven and Bojan have come very close. While various professors have helped both students take advantage of the best that St. Norbert has to offer, there is no doubt that their personal traits, skills and talents are ultimately responsible for the success they’ve experienced thus far.
"Bojan Francuz and Steven Garza demonstrate just how capable this generation is of inheriting the leadership of national and international institutions in the years to come. They will no doubt surprise us with their innovation and their innate ability to navigate an increasingly diverse, international, and technologically sophisticated world."