Jersey City, N.J. – February 17, 2023 – The Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership at Saint Peter’s University recently partnered with Fidelity Investments to launch the Guarini Civic Scholars program. The program involves a seminar coupled with an eight-week internship with a state or local government office. The 10 selected students will receive a $950 stipend and one-credit for their participation.
“This program is designed to help students make the most of their time as interns and introduce them to the local and state decision making processes in New Jersey,” said Ginger Gold Schnitzer, executive director of the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership. “I look forward to working with our talented pool of participants as they build their networks and make a difference in the community.”
In addition to bi-weekly class meetings, students will meet with elected and appointed officials and professionals working in state and local government and attend school board, council, commissioner and state legislative meetings. Additionally, students will participate side by side with Jersey City officials, veterans’ groups, and other partners in redesigning, restoring and revitalizing Pershing Fields Park in Jersey City.
“By directly immersing students in state and local government, the Guarini Civic Scholars program is empowering the next generation to be changemakers in their communities,” said Natalie Brathwaite, vice president, government relations & public affairs for Fidelity Investments. “Fidelity Investments is proud to partner with the Guarini Institute at Saint Peter’s University on this program and we look forward to seeing its impact.”
The 10 students selected for the program are from diverse class years and majors. The inaugural participants include Jael Concepcion ’24, business management major; Nicholas Cruz ’25, international business major; Marco Guzman ’26, business management major; Maria Lluberes ’26, biology major; Ralph Olibrice ’24, psychology major; Tabata Patino ’25, accounting major;
Amna Qazi ’26, biology major; Gabriel Sequera ’24, American studies major; Jamie Suarez ’23, communications major; and Jheannelle Witter ’24, political science major.
Many of the students who applied for the program did so because they were interested in making a difference in their communities. One example is Sequera who was born in Venezuela, but came to the United States at the age of 29 after being accidentally shot by a stray bullet while sitting in a restaurant. “My community would be improved if schools or religious groups could come together and teach young kids about the values of the society,” he shared.
Suarez, who currently serves as the editor and chief of the Saint Peter’s Tribune and as Secretary General of the Saint Peter’s University Model United Nations Team, also believes that education and communication are key in promoting political participation, which is one of the reasons she applied.
“Talking to citizens about what is happening within the public policy sector will create well-informed communities,” said Suarez. “It will encourage accountability and dissent towards policies that are not favorable to the public and motivate political participation. I also believe that educating the youth about their civic duties is essential for future generations to be well informed about government and leadership.”
The Guarini Civic Scholars program began in the spring 2023 semester.
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For more than 150 years, Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit www.saintpeters.edu.
Sarah Malinowski Ferrary