She met Senator Leahy on her first day of work in his Burlington office, and treasures a personal thank-you note she received from him after the internship ended.

Working with the Senator’s constituents on a daily basis, Fuirst developed keen insights into the daily workings of government. She’s particularly proud of the fact that two reports she wrote were read on the Senate floor by Leahy and put into the Library of Congress.

Fuirst has been accepted for a FEMA Corps position based in Sacramento where she will help communities all across the country prepare for and respond to natural disasters like fire, floods or extreme weather events.

“Afterwards I could see myself going to graduate school in public administration. I’d like to work in government or in the non-profit sector, because I think the best way to make change is through policy.”

While lining up with her dorm during her first-year convocation, Fuirst remembers standing next to Kelly Garber '20, who is now her best friend and a fellow sociology major. Given the alphabetical proximity of their last names, they’ll be standing next to each other again when they are called to the stage to receive their degrees during May Commencement.

“I feel like I was able to take advantage of opportunities that might not have come my way at a smaller school,” she says now. “At the same time there is this sense of belonging. UVM was definitely the right choice for me.”