Student Spotlight – Cassandra Vega DRC'24
Across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged first-year college students to transition to the next phase of their education under unprecedented circumstances. While online classes are not without obstacles, remote learning has not stopped first-year Cassandra Vega DRC’24 from immersing herself in the college experience. A political science major with ambitions toward law school, Vega has taken advantage of a variety of public policy and law opportunities remotely.
“At Douglass there’s so much I can do, even from home,” said Vega. “The fact that I’m able to be so involved in an online environment is incredible. If you have something you want to do, it’s here for you. And in the case that it’s not, you’re empowered to create your own space.”
Notably, Vega and fellow Douglass students have taken the initiative to start a new community for women interested in law—The Women in Pre-Law Society.
“Most of what I do, and what I want to pursue in the future, is to find ways to help marginalized groups—queer women, disabled women, women of color,” said Vega. “The best way to change what is wrong is to go straight to the institution, so I think I can make a difference through a law career. Helping start the Women in Pre-Law Society is part of that mission, and I am so thankful to my peers for leading that opportunity.”
In addition to the Women in Pre-Law Society, Vega has been active in Douglass programs. Through the Public Leadership Education Network at Douglass, an initiative connecting Douglass students to the public policy sphere, Vega has attended the Women of Color in Washington Seminar. She’ll also be speaking at an upcoming PLEN lecture where she’ll share her experiences with the community.
“Douglass has prepared me immensely, just by showing me perspectives I’ve never even thought of,” said Vega. “I like to think of myself as an intersectional feminist, but after taking Knowledge and Power, I learned so much about women’s and gender studies I never knew. Douglass has taught me to not only think about myself, but about the communities around me.”
Vega’s mother has long been an employee of Rutgers, first at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and now at Rutgers Libraries. As such, Vega has always been invested in Douglass and the larger university community. She will continue to have an impact throughout the remainder of her college experience.
Currently Vega is a member of the Douglass Welcoming Ambassadors, the Rutgers Democrats, a First-Year Emerging Leaders Fellow, a Darien Civic Engagement Student at Eagleton, and the Assistant Director of Cultural Outreach in the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Rutgers University Student Assembly. She is also involved in the Rutgers Alumni Association and was the 2020 Vincent R. Kramer Scholar. Most recently, she is running to be a Rutgers University Student Assembly senator with the Rutgers People’s Party, a group that hopes to implement progressive policies while providing a platform to all students, not just those interested in politics.
Vega works part-time as Assistant Program Director at a local dojo, Master Peter’s Academy of Martial Arts. She looks forward to when she can finally be on campus to meet her peers in person and continue to immerse herself in the college experience.
Click here to watch Vega discuss Women's History Month!