Rep. Jayapal Returns to the Hilltop

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal meets with Dean Christopher Celenza, members of the Baker Scholars Program, and Georgetown College staff

U.S. Representative and Baker Scholars Program alumna Pramila Jayapal (C'86) spoke to a large gathering of students in the Intercultural Center Auditorium on Monday, then joined the Baker Scholars for a private reception. Baker Scholar Cassidy Christensen (C’18) provides a student’s perspective on Jayapal’s appearance:

September 28, 2017 — On Monday, the Baker Scholars Program at Georgetown College joined Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in a discussion highlighting politics, career choices, and the value of a liberal arts education.

Representing Washington’s 7th district, Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to serve in the U.S House of Representatives and only the second women of color from Washington to win a seat in Congress. Jayapal credits Georgetown’s liberal arts education with helping her achieve success, stating that the educational values established in the College were “the basis for everything I do today … how I think about issues, about rational perspectives that are a part of my conversations, about how I communicate, about how I write.”

Through her status as an immigrant, her degree in English literature, and her involvement in the Baker Scholars Program, Jayapal recognized the value of community, diversity, and public service. After graduating, she moved from a position on Wall Street to the eventual founding of her own nonprofit, Hate Free Zone (now known as OneAmerica).

OneAmerica works to advance the rights of immigrants and reform the U.S. immigration system as a whole. Jayapal’s dedication to furthering immigrant rights stems from her personal experience as an immigrant from Chennai, India, and her conviction that “diversity of experiences and backgrounds” brings valuable perspectives and opinions to the forefront.

Jayapal’s passion and conviction for her message was inspiring, and her ideas resonated with the students in attendance — many of whom had overlapping interests and experiences. Her recognition of the importance of her liberal arts education in fostering a passion for service closely aligns with our values as Bakers and our commitment to being men and women for others.

Thank you to Rep. Jayapal, the Baker Scholars Program, the Office of Federal Relations, the Institute of Politics and Public Service, the GU College Democrats, the Georgetown Women's Alliance, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the GU South Asian Society for making this event possible.