Posted on September 6, 2022 by Amanda Cerreto

September 7, 2022 – The Archer Fellowship - an opportunity to live and learn in Washington, DC - was established for college students interested in policy and politics to learn about the federal government and public service. One might expect students majoring in public administration, law and political science to flood the halls of our nation's capital.

Archer fellowship

Marroquin and Gallardo pose at the Archer Center

Two UTSA graduate students changed that narrative this summer. Amethyst Marroquin , a Master of Sociology candidate, and Laura Gallardo , a Master of Social Work candidate and a First-Generation student, both earned Archer Fellowships and worked alongside policymakers.

Both students gained interest in this fellowship to see their degrees at work outside of a clinical setting. The fellowship gave them opportunities to collaborate with other students in a cohort, who were passionate about change and being public servants.

While in Washington, the Archer Fellowship allows participants to collaborate in working groups with other students and Washington insiders. Marroquin wanted to make an impact by amending the definition of a refugee, to include protections for the LGBTQIA+ community and women. During the summer, she interned at EMILY's List, a political action committee committed to helping elect pro-choice, Democrat women to office.

It was in this office she realized that even if your research is not being seen, it still matters and can impact people for the better. "As a sociologist I now understand that my research matters, and if applied correctly, it could help the most marginalized people," Marroquin said.

Gallardo's Archer experience ended up completely changing the trajectory of her career. Working at a biotech start up with the government affairs, Gallardo could see that the work she was doing at the time brought hope to vulnerable communities.

The work at the startup involved Medicare and Medicaid access to prescription digital therapeutics for substance use disorders. "It gave me a different view on the population I worked with as a field worker with the homeless community," Gallardo said. “There are strong ties with substance use disorders and homelessness, and working on improving access to care really changed by idea of how to assume a ‘helping role in the community.'”

Marroquin and Gallardo urge students to take the chance and apply, even if they may not seem to fit into the exact requirements. “Let others tell you no, go into everything with confidence,” Gallardo said.

If you are interested in the Archer Fellowship, be on the lookout for informational sessions! Students are also welcomed to contact the Archer Center with questions at a . Gallardo and Morroquin are also Graduate Archer Fellow Alumni Ambassadors and would love to personally chat with interested students. Find their emails at this link .

– Millie Gaspard

— Amanda Cerreto