Liaison on the Hill
Maya combined majors in political science and social work to prepare for a career working to protect human rights, both internationally and domestically. At Northwestern she was a discipleship group leader and coordinator for the college’s Justice & Service teams—and worked in student government.
What are your current job responsibilities?
A significant portion of my time is spent coordinating and managing day-to-day media for Senator Grassley. This can include both local and national media. In addition, I work closely with other members of the senator’s press team to draft press materials, such as news releases or op-eds. Sharing materials like these keeps constituents up to date on action in Congress and on what work the senator is currently engaged in.
What are your career goals?
My current experience in the public sector is teaching me so much about service on a macro level. Within the next few years, I would like to attend grad school to earn a Master of Social Work degree and then explore a career in policy practice and advocacy for children, youth and families. I see myself working alongside underserved populations, whether here in the states or internationally. I would love to work within the realm of child protective services, immigration reform or refugee resettlement.
How did Northwestern professors help prepare you for this career path?
In a college environment, it is hard to remember that your worth is not solely dependent on the career path you take. Faculty at Northwestern consistently emphasized that a career can be an avenue to serve and glorify the Lord when your passions and gifts intersect. Though this preparation was not only specific to my career, it reminded me to live a life worthy of whatever calling I have received.
How did you grow during your years at Northwestern?
I won’t say that my time at NWC was all rainbows and butterflies. But I will say that I was challenged to think about what I wanted my life to look like outside of the “comfortable.” As followers of Christ, I don’t believe we are called to be comfortable, and NWC helped remind me of this by fostering a mindset aimed above mediocrity.
What are the strengths of Northwestern’s political science department?
The department does a great job posing the important question of whether Christians should work in politics. And if so, what does that look like? I appreciated how the faculty never taught students from a specific ideological stance, but rather, explored how politics can be a tool to serve others.
What are the strengths of Northwestern’s social work department?
My social work professors beautifully demonstrated the vital importance of empathy. Empathy is an indispensable foundation for any service in the social work field. Empathy is not pity. It’s genuine sensitivity to another person’s situation. The social work department constantly challenges students to think beyond themselves and to see the world in a different light—one where we can love others by serving them.