Emily Tifft '16 CLAS

Emily TIfft

Coming to Villanova University as a freshman, I was scared to speak up in class. I could not decide on a major. And I felt like I would never find a career path that fit my passions and interests. As a senior, my life could not be more different.

Over the past five months, I helped design a rain poncho for Pope Francis, chatted with celebrities ranging from Beyoncé to Vice President Joe Biden, and coordinated Make-A-Wish visits for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. I helped plan the Fourth of July party on the South Lawn of the White House and taught Bo Obama new tricks. Last month I returned to D.C. to help coordinate the 2015 White House Papal State Arrival. All of this was done through my summer internship at the White House Visitors Office. These experiences changed my life, and none would have been possible were it not for Villanova.

Throughout the past three years at Villanova, I have been active both on and off campus. Among other commitments, I served as president of the Pre-Law Society, vice president of the BRIDGE Professional Development Society, and co-president of Villanova Students against Breast Cancer. As a Connelly-Delouvrier International Scholar, I studied abroad in the spring of 2015 at the University of Oxford, where I partnered with a visiting professor from Harvard Law School to coordinate the world’s largest academic conference on female genital mutilation. Through Oxford Law, I partnered with members of the United Nations to discuss the legal implications of humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees, and I worked with feminist organizations across the University to help develop an iPhone app that helps victims of sexual assault report abuse and seek community resources.

These accomplishments would not be possible, however, without support from my professors at Villanova. As an English, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Honors triple major, I have cultivated deep, meaningful relationships with faculty like Dr. Catherine Kerrison from the History department. Dr. Kerrison inspired me to apply for—and obtain—an internship at the Supreme Court of the United States in the summer of 2014. She is now advising my senior thesis on women in law. In addition, Dr. Jean Lutes of the English department became a personal role model and mentor, forever reminding me that no dream is too big to pursue.

Countless people at Villanova have helped transform me from a shy freshman struggling to find the courage to speak up in class to a confident senior who has lectured to a packed courtroom at the Supreme Court and led events at the White House. As I look toward my future, it is both exciting to think about the doors Villanova has opened for me, and comforting to know I can continue to draw on that support beyond graduation.

Students like Emily benefit from donor support throughout their years at Villanova. Learn how the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences plans to enhance experiential learning opportunities such as internships and study abroad on their campaign page.