HPS Featured Alumni
JULIA BONILLA, '18
I graduated in 2018 with a History/Political Science degree and accepted a position at Philadelphia Insurance Company as an account executive. In January 2021, I graduated with a master’s degree in business (MBA) with a concentration in data analytics. I received promotions in April 2021 to Senior Account Associate and in July 2021 to an Underwriter trainee position based out of the home office on the east coast.
The History/Political Science degree gave me the skill set that not only helped me excel in my MBA program, but also the skills needed to transition into the underwriting department: critical thinking, research skills, strong writing, and argumentative skills. The critical thinking and research skills learned are essential to the underwriter role and any master’s program.
CASSIDEE PLATNER, '16
I became a History & Political Science major my second semester at Vanguard University when I realized I wanted to be a teacher. The faculty in the HPS department all guided me toward my current career path. I am in my 5th year of teaching and currently teach at Temescal Canyon High School in the Social Science department, teaching U.S. History, Introduction to Law, and Psychology. The variety of courses the HPS department requires their students to take made me a well-rounded scholar and educator, as the HPS department ensures their students have a deep understanding of the world around them and how we each interact with it as historians.
The political science courses gave me the background to teach United States history, United States Government, and Introduction to Law. Constitutional Law I & II provided me with the knowledge of the most important Supreme Court cases to understand the foundation and development of our country. The series of political philosophy classes, including Classical Philosophy and Modern Philosophy, provided me with the background necessary to understand and then teach the foundations of the Constitution and how the Founding Fathers borrowed from a myriad of sources to craft the Constitution. In addition to the classes, the wonderful HPS department encouraged discussion, debate, and critical thinking in which our most basic ideas were put to the test. Debate, socratic seminar, and philosophical discussions are now the cornerstone in my own classroom. Introduction to Human Rights showed me how what we learn in history is not isolated to thousands of years ago, and what we learn can be applied to today to work in our communities to make a difference.
TESSA MARRACCINO, '19
I graduated summa cum laude from Vanguard in 2019 with my degree in History and Political Science. My experience with the HPS department was nothing short of amazing. The classes offered were so versatile, intellectually stimulating, and engaging. Some of my favorites were History of Childhood, Ancient and Modern China, History of Human Rights, and Public Policy. While the content was always outstanding, the professors within the department truly set apart the major. The professors take a genuine interest in each and every one of their students and want them to excel. Today, I am applying my major -- specifically, the skills it taught me, like analysis, research, writing, and public speaking -- in law school. I currently go to UCI School of Law and will graduate with my J.D. in 2023! My plan is to become a civil litigation attorney.
Ashley FISCHER, '18
After graduating from Vanguard University in 2018, I moved to Seattle, Washington, and started working at World Relief Seattle, the largest refugee resettlement agency in Western Washington. I began as the Housing Coordinator and then transitioned to Resettlement Coordinator in February of 2021. In this position I welcome newly arrived refugees, asylees, and immigrants to the Seattle area and assist them with integrating into their new lives in the United States.
My role at World Relief Seattle is heavily impacted by political policy and agenda. My time as an HPS major at Vanguard University opened my eyes to the intricacies of immigration policy specifically within the United States. During my junior year at VU, I had the opportunity to be a part of the American Studies Program in Washington, D.C. In this semester I was able to fully dive into researching the complexities of immigration policy. Having a strong understanding of this structure has served me well within my position at World Relief.
JARED AGTUNONG ('17)
I graduated from the History & Political Science Program in 2017. During my time as a Vanguard University Lion, I served in the Student Government Association, competed on Vanguard’s Speech & Debate Team, founded the Vanguard University Forum (Political Awareness Club), and re-established Clio & Cicero as student editor in Chief (The Academic Journal for the HPS Department). Today, I work as a political appointee in Grant Writing & Grant Management for the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development in the tri-isle County of Maui, Hawaii.
My path since graduating from Vanguard has been a journey of faith, vocation, and passion for bringing visibility and representation to the communities and people I call both family and home. Immediately after leaving Vanguard, I wanted to impact my home community tangibly, so I started in ministry, working with high school students. During this period, I had the unique opportunity to mentor and challenge youth in my local congregation. Over time, I realized that many policy issues in a community are societal concerns and can often stem from spiritual brokenness. This pushed me to think about public policymaking as an arena for change and potential graduate studies programs to look into.
I can attest that the Vanguard Alumni network is vibrant and willing to help the Lion community in many ways; through a series of VU connections, I was encouraged to, applied, and started my graduate studies at Pepperdine University. While at Pepperdine, I was a federal policy intern at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health in Washington D.C., working on initiatives focusing on rural and minority health. Mirroring research to experiences growing up as an island boy, I co-authored my MPP capstone thesis on how policymaking decisions can create or bridge gaps of equity and community resiliency in socioeconomically vulnerable populations.
Maui, Hawaii, for me, is my community, my people, my home. My coursework has prepared me well for a background of early-career experience in local, state, and federal policymaking; in Maui County, I played an integral role in facilitating the implementation of Hawaii’s inaugural “elections by mail” system, coordinated statewide religious youth events, and on policy initiatives as a federal intern. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges local policymakers face; in the 4th quarter of 2020, Maui County ranked highest in unemployment in the State of Hawaii, with Hawaii ranking highest in unemployment in the nation. This reinforces my belief that creative policy solutions and long-term community planning are not only necessary but can mean the difference in survival for many.