Make Your Passion Your Plan: Law and Policy Program Changes Path of New Grad

As anyone who has attended college and began their career can attest, often what you think you’re going to study or do for a living is not at all what ends up happening. Claudia Huber ‘24 was certain she was destined for law school.

Huber says as a freshman, “I was extremely focused on how I could prepare myself for the future after Allegheny, and I could tell how meaningful everything was already becoming just a month into college.” Law school was definitely part of the plan. Now a senior with graduation around the corner, she reflects on her experience in the Law and Policy Program, the pinnacle of which was spending her final spring semester in Harrisburg. There, she was able to take on a full-time internship with the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. This, combined with interning the past two summers in her own District Representative’s office, made her realize that law school might not be her end goal. 

“I have taken advantage of both political science and environmental science and sustainability (ESS) in a way that has nurtured my thinking and view on where I see a career,” Huber says. “While I am not an ESS major, I have taken so many classes in that department, I have been able to pursue my environmental interests because of it.”

Huber’s future in public service has been informed by her Allegheny experience. An active student, she served on the Honor Committee as a representative for the class of 2024, is a sister of Alpha Chi Omega, was part of Lambda Sigma sophomore-only honors society, played the violin in Civic Symphony all four years, and is a fellow for the Center for Political Participation.

Claudia Huber

“All of those things, and more, have given me a liberal arts experience that I truly believe I could have only gotten at Allegheny College,” says Huber.

Huber first heard about the House Fellowship program in the fall of her junior year through Professor Kirschner in her sophomore year Human Rights class. An embodiment of the advantages of a small school, the professor personally knew about her interest in state and local politics, so she suggested Huber consider doing the fellowship with the House. Since Huber had interned in my State Representative’s District office the previous summer, she felt a blossoming passion for the work.

She says moving to a new city the spring of senior year was scarier than beginning a new program, but her fears were eased after she got into a routine, and doing work that she enjoyed every day made it all the more comforting.

Working on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee has delivered tangible rewards. She’s met with Representatives as she’s developing an original piece of legislation for the final project of the program. Passionate about waterway safety, she is interested in increasing signage on rivers where there are run-of-the-river dams. This includes researching the issue broadly, reading and understanding the current legislation, and figuring out the ways she can update what we currently have to make signage safer in Pennsylvania.

Huber is learning how to analyze bills and research questions that come from constituents on issues that pertain to ERE. When the House returned to session in late March, she attended.
Her favorite part of the job is research, and she cites Allegheny as preparing her for the challenges that come with it.

“Issues come through the Committee that relate to environmental resources and energy, but I may be encountering a subject for the first time. This has honestly been so exciting because I feel like I am able to continue learning outside the classroom!”

While she’s just beginning her life’s path, Huber is grateful that the liberal arts education she received opened her to possibilities outside the path she thought she would take. When asked about what advice she’d have for prospective students, Huber says, “Picking where I wanted to go to college felt like the biggest life decision I ever made when I was in high school. And then the best thing you can do is learn about your interests while you are here. That is what is going to set you up to graduate and do something that you love!”