Political science major finds academic and professional passion by getting involved on campus
Nicole Kach entered college at an unprecedented inflection point in the fall of 2020. Like many students, and especially during that period, she wasn't yet sure what she wanted to study or what she imagined her future career looking like.
One thing she knew, was that UMass Dartmouth would provide her the opportunities to figure that out if she got involved with her many different interests.
"Getting involved on campus is important for all students, as we have a say in our overall student experience," said Kach. "It's a great way to learn how to advocate for yourself and others and see a real positive change that can and has been made by working with university administration."
The treasurer of the Student Government Association, the co-president of Model United Nations, the vice president of the Sailing Team, and a member of the Society of Community Leaders and the Outdoor Club, Kach has gotten involved in a lot on campus while maintaining a 3.9 GPA and taking three short-term trips to Guatemala, the U.K., and Germany.
"These types of experiences allow you to get first-hand experience communicating in professional settings and expand on your soft skills, which are both vital when you're looking for jobs after college. Further, you can add quantifiable accomplishments to your résumé, which is a great way to get your career started, no matter the field."
Are there any accomplishments you're particularly proud of?
"Bringing 14 students from Japan to UMass Dartmouth to represent jointly with our Model United Nations team. The former co-president of Model UN, Maxwell White, and I worked with the lead delegate Yuriko Watanabe throughout the entire year. We talked with different members of the university's administration to arrange for students to stay on campus. Overall, we ended up winning the 'Outstanding Delegation' award together, which means that we placed in the top 20% internationally.
"Secondly, organizing an alternative spring break to Guatemala. It took a long time working with different members of campus administration and faculty to help grow the program. But it was a wonderful way to spend the week! Everyone who participated in the alternative spring break took something away from it on how to make a difference in our local communities."
"Most recently, I am very proud of participating as a delegate with UMass Dartmouth's Model UN team at the National Model UN conference in Erfurt, Germany. UMassD won an honorable delegation award, and my committee partner and I won the outstanding Position Paper Award for our country, Uganda."
"When I first started participating in Model UN at UMassD, I never would have thought that I'd be debating at an international conference. Winning a personal award and a delegation award for UMass Dartmouth is a dream come true. I'm excited and honored to play a role in the next stage of UMassD Model UN."
Experience leading, coordinating, and advocating on campus will benefit any major, but perhaps none more directly than political science. After a year and a half on campus, Kach decided to pursue political science so she could advocate to make a difference in peoples' lives for the better.
"Political science is an exciting major because of its opportunities and versatility. You learn how the government operates and functions, and then you can apply different interests to that to find your dream career.
"One of my favorite classes was PSC 315: Public Policy in America with Assistant Professor Kristen McHenry. Her class taught me to think in different perspectives and the rationale behind public policy decisions. She helped me to understand federal policy in my current job as a legislative associate in Washington, D.C.
"I've also loved classes with Associate Teaching Professor Peter Sandby-Thomas and working with the Director of the Leduc Center, Deirdre Healy, who are both good sounding boards and who always make me laugh and smile."
Off campus, Kach is equally dedicated to setting up her future success and advocating for others, having interned in the Taunton Mayor's office and as a public policy intern for the National Waterways Conference in Washington, D.C.
"Internships are SO important! They've helped me understand what I do and don't want when looking for a career. Internships are a great way of discovering different areas that you didn't anticipate yourself enjoying. Mine solidified for me that I want to work for the government in some capacity after graduating.
"These roles taught me how adaptable I can be, especially when taking on a new project that isn't typically done in the classroom. It also taught me how to work with others and how to think with different perspectives towards different situations."
Can you describe UMassD in one word?
What's your favorite thing about UMass Dartmouth?
"The people and faculty. Everyone I have met and worked with has been so incredibly kind and always has your best interests at heart."
Do you have any advice for first-year UMassD students?
"Don't ever be afraid to get involved or to try anything, especially for commuters! Getting involved on campus can often be very intimidating, and it's very easy to head back to your car and leave. But getting involved can give you amazing friends and open doors you would never have thought possible."
What are you most excited for this senior year?
"I'm excited to make more beautiful memories with all of my friends and see what other opportunities come for me."
What do you hope to be doing a year from now after graduating?
"I hope that I will be in graduate school studying public or international environmental policy in Washington, D.C. I also am looking into volunteering for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps."
Do you feel prepared for what's next? Are you excited for it?
"I don't necessarily know if I feel fully prepared for what the next chapter of my life will look like, but I am excited to see where life will take me. I know that no matter what happens, my experiences at UMass Dartmouth will help me no matter where I end up.
"I want to thank all of the wonderful people who have supported me on my journey here at UMass Dartmouth. I would not have been able to do this without all my friends, faculty, and staff. I also want to thank both my parents and my aunt, Cioci, in particular. It takes a village to raise a child, and without all your constant support, dedication, and pushing me to be my best, I wouldn't be able to do what I have on campus."