The first part of our weekly series to highlight students on campus focuses on Victoria Antram, a senior graduating in May with a degree in Theology and Political Economy and Government. Victoria is well-known among her peers for her cheerful presence, academic excellence, and active involvement on campus. But best of all, she is an introspective person who thoughtfully answers each question. We'll let her tell it in her own words.
What did you do last summer?
This past summer I interned for the Sisters of Life for a second year. It’s a development and marketing internship that’s coordinated through the university. We help the sisters to fundraise and get their order out there since they’re only really well known in the New England area. We also worked on their donor database, made prospective donor portfolios, helped them in trying to discern if they should have an intern do social media for them—things like that.
I also went to Washington D.C. for a conference with the American Enterprise Institute called “Values and Capitalism”. There we had a seminar-style conference on faith and politics. They also gave us opportunities to meet with different fields, like career fields that we’re thinking about going into, so I met with their development officers and talked about that. They also gave us resume advice, so it was really beneficial.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
Currently, I’m applying to graduate school. In fact, I just took the GRE (Graduate Record Examination Test) on Monday. I’m applying to programs in public policy—specifically on social and urban issues—and my dream would be to go to Hilsdale College in Michigan to get a Master’s in Statesmanship. Then, hopefully, I’ll work my way up researching for different think tanks at universities. My ultimate goal is to work for the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’ll be 27, so I hope I am married and I hope I have two (and a half) kids—I think it’s very important to balance vocation and work. I hope that I will be 3 years out of grad school—if I go to grad school—and hopefully in the D.C. area raising a family at the same time as researching and all that fun stuff. My dream is to be like Dr. Catherine Pakaluk.
What are you plans for this year to get closer to your goal?
I’m going to apply for a few fellowships this summer. The Koch fellowship is an internship where you work at a liberty-minded organization, non-profit. You can either do a public policy internship or the development internship. I’m also going to apply to the Hertog fellowship and different programs like that to get better skills in researching and to build experience because I still don’t have very much skill in that.
Which do you think you have the most of: talent, intelligence, education, or persistence? How has it helped you in your life?
I would say persistence. I actually don’t think I’m that smart. I’m definitely not common sense smart—“street smart,” as they say. I get good grades, but it’s only because I try very hard. Talent-wise I think there are a lot more talented people in the world than me, so I think persistence would be the answer.
It has helped me because I’ve never given up on anything that I wanted. For example, I was President of Students for Life my sophomore year. I really wanted Abby Johnson to come speak, so all summer I worked on making sure that she could come and—since it would cost a lot of money to bring her—that we were still able to raise the amount of money we needed to, and it all worked out!
What do you think are your three best qualities?
I think I am very analytical, so I’m good at connecting points—I connect a lot of dots and I’m very good a drawing conclusions. I love to write. I use a lot of metaphors and I think I can make words come to life, especially in academic writing, which normally isn’t the case. Academic writing is boring for the most part. I think that my temperament is also good because I’m quiet and I’m a good listener. I like to ask questions and get people to talk and think about why they think the things that they do.
What about your three worst?
I would say I am poor at small talk, like that networking thing—I’m not very good at it because…too much small talk. I am very detail-oriented so sometimes I get lost in details, which usually means I take longer to finish a project than I should. I will also get distracted and really excited about something else and sometimes I run out of steam before I can finish the project.
What’s the best compliment you ever received?
The Students for Life President position belonged to a gentleman who didn’t return the following year, so he emailed me saying, “I’m not returning. You’re the Vice President, so you’re going to be the President.” In the email, he told me that I had a gentle way of leading and I thought that was a good feminine trait to have. I like to lead but I don’t want to be bossy or be like, “I’m trying to play with the boys!” I want to hold on to my femininity and be able to lead at the same time.
What’s your typical day like now? How is it different from your daily routines in the past?
I have to wake up early, now. I try to go to Mass, eat breakfast (most important meal of the day), and then I go to work and I work until I go to class. Then, in the afternoon after my classes finish, I try to get as much work done as possible between then and dinner, especially since dinner can sometimes take a long time. After that, there are usually events at nighttime that I may have to help out with or that I may want to go to. So, waking up early and getting my work done in the morning or in the afternoon is how I adapted to being really busy.
When you look in the mirror what do you see?
Actually, when I look in the mirror in my dormitory, I have a picture of Mother Teresa right behind me, so when I’m getting ready in the morning and I’m putting on my makeup thinking, “Ah, I’ve got to look good!” I look at Mother Teresa and think, “You know what? She didn’t even care and she got so much good done in this world.” So, I try to remember that even though there’s this culture of perfection in appearance, I don’t need to play into that; there are greater things. Even though we fall into terrible things—like vanity and things like that—I see Mother Teresa in the mirror, in that picture behind me, and I remember that there are more important things to worry about.