Alumni Stories

Sarah Andrews (C ‘07)

“My time at Principia directly influenced the path that I am currently on,” states Sarah Andrews with conviction.

And quite a path it’s been—taking her from Elsah to a rural outpost in Burkina Faso and onto a doctoral program at the University of Virginia, with field research in Zambia.

Sarah’s Principia experience motivated her to become a Peace Corps volunteer after graduation, from 2007-2009. “Prin really fostered my interest in the broader world, and in the developing world specifically. I first became interested in the issues I focus on now—agriculture and development—when I had the opportunity to participate in the Model United Nations as part of my Political Science major.”

Like many other PoliSci majors, Sarah furthered her knowledge of and interest in foreign affairs through involvement in the  College’s annual Public Affairs Conference and Pan-African Conference.

“Even though it was challenging, I truly loved my time in Burkina Faso!” Sarah exclaims, describing her efforts in supporting small enterprise activities for rural women and helping obtain a grant from the U.S. Embassy to support women’s education.  While there, Christian Science was my source of health care, emotional support, safety, sense of direction,” she says. “I feel that the Prin environment really supported me in making Christian Science my own. . . .  [and] graduate school is yet another laboratory to continue putting divine law into practice.”

Now in the second year of a Ph.D. program in Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, focusing on the political economy of Africa's agricultural development. Here, too, Sarah credits her foundational studies at Principia: “I definitely feel as though I am able to think analytically at a level on par with my colleagues who graduated from other educational institutions.” 

Joe Fitzgibbon (C ‘07)

When he was elected as the Representative of the 34th District in the Washington State Legislature in 2010, Joe Fitzgibbon became the youngest members currently serving in a House seat. 

As he reflects up on his student days at Principia College as a double major in Political Science and History, Joe says, “The opportunities at Prin are unmatched at any other educational institution,” Joe says. “I felt that the professors were truly engaged in my learning.”

Joe was politically active at Principia as part of the College Democrats. He served on the Political Affairs Conference (PAC) board and wrote a regular column for the Pilot. “I appreciated the small school setting where learning to write and speak well are a top priority,” Joe says. “I learned that writing well is thinking well.”

After graduation he was hired to be the assistant to a Washington State representative. “This was a tremendous opportunity to learn how the state legislature functions, and to meet people involved in state government,” Joe says. “The representative I worked for decided to run for an open seat in the state senate and won her election. This vacated her house seat, and many people encouraged me to run. I gave the matter much prayerful consideration before making a decision because I was concerned that I might be going about it too quickly. I was 23 at the time! A Prin friend reminded me that if I had the right motives it could only bring blessings no matter the outcome of the election.”

Joe won that election and has now served his state for two years. 

Elizabeth Kohut (C ‘07)

As a Political Science major, Elizabeth took classes that would lay the foundation for her career as a county prosecutor in Fairfax County, Virginia.

“I feel the Political Science major is very well-designed, and prepared me for law school,” Elizabeth says. “Professor John Williams invited many of us to participate in the Moot Court program, and this was an outstanding experience.  He also provided a clear view of what to expect in law school. . . . Taking rigorous courses and developing a strong work ethic at Principia helped me get a head start.” 

While at Principia, she regularly attended the speaker series and student-run Political Affairs Conference each year.  “I was always amazed that our small college in Illinois could attract such fine speakers,” remarks Elizabeth, who was also the President of Rackham her freshman year, and a resident assistant in Anderson her junior and senior years. 

With the help of the College’s Academic and Career Advising (ACA) office, Elizabeth landed an internship at the National Legislative Office for the Fraternal Order of Police in Washington D.C. during her junior year.  She worked for the organization full-time after graduation, before attending law school. During Elizabeth’s first year out of law school she worked for the FBI as a counter-terrorism Intelligence Analyst assigned to work on domestic terrorism issues, before moving into her current career.

“Each case involves difficult situations, but it feels so good knowing I’ve made a difference in the lives of victims,” Elizabeth says, of her current job. She credits Principia with having a continuing impact on her life. “I learned to apply Christian Science to academics and life challenges while at Prin, and truly loved my entire experience at Principia.”