Amazing Alumni: Dominique Perez ('21)
May 31, 2021 Written by Jessica Smith | Photo provided by Dominique Perez
While many students used their winter break to relax, rewind and unplug from their virtual coursework, Dominique Perez was on the hunt for professional opportunities.
The Class of 2021 graduate received an email announcing that the Biden Institute was hiring for spring interns. Perez immediately sent in her resume and cover letter and was selected as a finalist. After participating in several rounds of Zoom interviews, she was chosen as a general intern.
“My duties varied,” says the former political science and sociology major. “Some of the tasks I was assigned over the semester included researching public policy, working with other communities on campus to increase enrollment for the Biden School, working with notable employers, attending and organizing events, outreach work and data input in databases such as Air Table.”
Despite having a full plate of diverse responsibilities, Perez says she was thankful for the variety, as it helped her broaden her horizons and solidify future goals. “Through my day-to-day tasks, I acquired an incredible network,” she says. “I now have connections to successful people in California, which is where I hope to live one day to work on progressive agendas, such as income inequality, housing inequality regarding the homeless population, climate change and expanding voting rights.”
An impressive person in Perez’s new network even has very close relations to the White House. “The most rewarding aspect of the internship was meeting so many notable people, including President Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden,” says Perez. “I also met many friends of political figures I look up to. I hope one day someone in my network can put me in contact with these figures when I start my profession, whether it be for advice or a career opportunity.”
Although her Biden Institute internship was crucial in helping her on her path to success, it was far from the first professional opportunity for Perez. During her sophomore year, Perez pursued an internship with an attorney in her hometown of South Jersey. On campus, she served as a peer advisor at the UD Career Center and a writing tutor at the Writing Center for three years respectively. She was also a writing tutor fellow with Dr. Brannick’s biomedical communications course.
“I’ve always been extremely passionate about politics since I was about sixteen,” says Perez. “So, I’m not sure if UD inspired my career choice exactly but being involved with these professional positions throughout my years definitely kept me going in the right direction.”
Perez is following her passion next year at Rutgers Law School as she pursues her Juris Doctor degree. Eventually, she may consider a career in politics. “I naively think that politics has the potential to help the masses,” she says. “I want to make a difference. Getting your foot in the door in politics is hard but doesn’t have to be when you have a strong network. Surround yourself with successful and driven people who motivate you to continue down the course you’re on.”
For current students and fellow recent graduates, Perez has some words of advice. “Don’t give up on the search,” she urges. “If it was easy, everyone would do it. Schedule an appointment with your career counselor and email your professors. Read the emails we all get—that’s how I got the Biden Institute position. And, as unfair as it, consider doing an unpaid internship. You may not get paid, but you will gain experience and network. Fill up that resume because before you know it, college is over. You don’t want to waste the investment of a four-year college education!”