By Emily Glory Peters
During The Giving Season at Scripps, we’re highlighting student leaders as they share how their Scripps experience helped them use their voice and act on new ideas.
Julia Brock ’22 is not afraid of a challenge—yet, like all virtues, it took time to build that confidence.
As a first-year student at Scripps College, she had toyed with the notion of majoring in something completely outside her comfort zone: politics and Middle East and North African (MENA) Studies. A chance conversation with a non-Scripps student made her question if it would be too difficult. Ultimately, she couldn’t be dissuaded.
“Growing up in a post-9/11 era, I had wanted to remove myself from its narrative and learn about perspectives of the MENA region I hadn’t been exposed to: poetry, art, religion, cultural phenomena. On the politics side, I wanted to look at how to create substantive changes, craft policies, or help communities in that region,” she said. “By my sophomore year, I decided to dual major in both areas, and I absolutely loved it.”
Even before deciding on her major, the senior admits that she had a “one-track mindset” of what she could and would do after college. Yet, as she connected with a diverse group of Scripps students and faculty, her perspective on her potential expanded.
“I thought working for the government would be the best way to enact change,” she says, “but I learned there are so many options I could pursue. The beauty of Scripps is that it opens these options to me.”
Trying new paths with help from CP&R and the Laspa Center for Leadership
Scripps’ student resources have also been key to helping Brock crystallize her interests.
With support from Career Planning & Resources (CP&R), she’s completed three internships, including one last summer for which she received a donor-funded grant while working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). In her role helping individuals apply for US citizenship, Brock remembers being shocked at the amount of paperwork, patience, and seemingly endless steps in the process. All of it only motivated her to envision how she could help in the future.
“My internship with IRC gave me a closer look at the specifics of immigration law and the meticulous detail needed,” she says. “It was an experience I wouldn’t have had without the grant from CP&R, and I’m grateful because it gave me a new perspective on potentially becoming an attorney.”
Brock’s inclusion in a Leadership Immersion Trek to Washington, DC, with Scripps’ Laspa Center for Leadership also sparked ideas for how she could make a difference—not just in the future, but in her current life at Scripps. Supported by donor gifts, treks bring Scripps students to new cities to take a deep dive into leadership, and Brock’s trek focused on women’s influence on public policy. The experience inspired her to join the Laspa Center’s “Scholars in Action” program, designed to provide students with leadership positions on campus.
“I’m leading the center’s Civic Engagement Initiative, which is a nonpartisan effort geared around getting students registered to vote,” she says, noting the challenge of moving the project online during remote learning last year. Working with her fellow Scholars in Action, she helped develop new communication tactics and a website to help students register to vote, serve as pollworkers, and connect to critical voting resources.
“My hope is that future Scholars in Action will build on those resources and expand them, both in California and nationwide,” she says.
Finding the confidence to speak with boldness
As Brock explores how she can combine her academic interests, leadership skills, and desire to help others, she acknowledges those who have helped made that exploration possible. The investment of the Scripps community, she says, is part of what makes such a meaningful impact.
“Scripps opens doors for students, and donors funding opportunities like internship grants and treks are ways to help students pursue their dreams and have the economic resources to make them a reality,” she says. “Many of us go on to do projects or theses based on these experiences; some work in those fields for decades. That’s not possible without outside support.”
Yet community influence extends beyond its impact on Scripps students’ future careers. For Brock, the people that support Scripps are ultimately supporting a rare college environment where students—including her—gain the confidence to be their truest selves.
“Scripps has allowed me to develop my voice and have a better understanding of who I am and what my values are. Here, people feel they can make comments that don’t need to be softened—they can be a statement. That inspires me,” she says. “Coming into Scripps, I knew I had ideas to share, but didn’t necessarily feel I could be as bold. I’ve developed that muscle now, and know that I can propel a conversation in a productive way—and explain why others should listen.”
Now through December 31, we invite Scripps College alums, parents, and friends to make a gift to set students like Julia up for success in 2022. To give today, please click here. Thank you for your support!