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Great Starts: Andrea Daniela Fuentes ’23
Portrait of student Andrea Daniela Fuentes

Great Starts: Andrea Daniela Fuentes ’23

From time to time, we like to showcase a new SNC grad who’s entered the workplace or grad school. Success stories like these are pretty common. In fact, 95 percent of SNC's Class of 2022 alumni who responded to a survey said they were employed, in grad school or doing service work within nine months of graduating.

Hometown: Chicago
Degree program
: Bachelor of Arts in political science and international studies double major, pre-law
Plans after graduation: Andrea is studying at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., for a master’s in international relations, with focuses in security, statecraft and strategy, in the United States and Latin America.

Why did you choose to study at St. Norbert College?

My senior year of high school, Cabrini Jablon (Admissions) came to my school.
I had heard about St. Norbert but didn’t seriously consider it until I met Cabrini; I really loved everything she described. It was the small classroom environment that drew me in. When I was in high school, I really liked getting to know my teachers, and I did the same thing when I came to St. Norbert – it made it feel like home. I also liked the offerings, the activities and clubs and all the leadership opportunities.

What led to your focus in international law?

I came in with a political science major.
 And then when two of my professors,
 Dr. Edwards (Philosophy) and Dr. Ford (Theology), were talking about the peace and justice minor, I 
found it incredibly interesting. Then, in my Conceptions of Human Rights class with
 Dr. Villarroel, I was drawn to global policy. It gave me a birds-eye view and inspiration of something bigger than myself and outside an area that I’m used to.

Dr. Charley Jacobs (Political Science) and Judge Hammer (Business) were the ones who taught me about complex legal issues. They got me interested in domestic politics and helped me understand case studies and legal issues.

You spent a semester in Washington, D.C., studying and working. What was that experience like?

I went to D.C. the summer after my junior year, and I took classes at American University. My internship there was at the U.S. Department of Defense. I was placed in one of their educational institutions called the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, where I helped with research and educational curriculum for courses offered to military personnel from the Western Hemisphere.

The Washington semester gave me several opportunities. I got to learn from professors and other students from around the world, and the connections I made there are the reason I was able to narrow the path I’m headed down. Dr. Villarroel, my number one supporter, motivator and guide throughout my four years, pushed me to do the Washington semester. She was like another parent, doing whatever she could to help me be successful. She was the absolute best and St. Norbert is lucky to have her.

Why Johns Hopkins, and how did SNC prepare you for your next endeavor?

I want to get my law degree, specifically 
in human rights and international law, to help those who have been affected by gender-based violence, and crimes against humanity in the U.S. and Latin America. I believe that to effectively help with global issues, you really need to understand them. At Johns Hopkins I will get an education and a greater perspective on the things that interest me and strong areas of need.

I attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Conference on behalf of St. Norbert, and I was a speaker at the Notre Dame Peace Conference.

My peace and justice capstone course with Dr. Edwards and Dr. Ford was instrumental to building my confidence to pursue this vocation. I wrote a self-guided policy paper on healthcare inequalities in Latin America. I was also the vice president of student relations for the Student Government Association, a political science teaching assistant, and a mentor for the office of student inclusion and belonging. In those experiences, I learned what it means to be truly selfless. In the career I’m planning to have, it boils down to service and servant leadership. Those positions helped me prepare for that career.