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Alum stands out on Capitol Hill

Alum stands out on Capitol Hill

Alexandra Vecchio (BA ’13) works in the office of Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) where she is the Web Communications Director.

By: Tanner Walters, Rambler Buzz Staff Writer

Each year, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois recognizes the contributions of outstanding citizens of Illinois, including those of students. Rambler Buzz recently sat down with Alexandra Vecchio (BA ’13), who was recognized as Loyola’s 2012-13 Lincoln Student Laureate. Vecchio, who graduated with degrees in sociology and environmental science, has been making it big in our nation’s capital. 

What accomplishment during your time at Loyola are you most proud of?
As a freshman I joined the Green Learning Community and Student Environmental Alliance (SEA), a campus organization that focused on environmental education and action. I came to work on Loyola’s UnCap Campaign, which was a student-driven effort to remove the sale of bottled water on Loyola’s campus. It was during my junior year that Loyola passed the student government referendum supporting the UnCap project and we realized that our dream had turned into a reality. The day we found out all of our hard work had paid off was one of my best moments at Loyola.

What have you accomplished since graduating?
After I graduated from Loyola, I accepted an internship on Capitol Hill working for Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL). I worked in Congressman Quigley’s office while searching for a permanent position on Capitol Hill. From there, I was hired as a Staff Assistant in Congressman Albio Sires’s (D-NJ) office. Since joining Congressman Sires’s staff in December, I have been promoted to the Web Communications Director position. I am responsible for the Congressman’s website, social media, as well as different legislative issue areas including animal welfare, environment, campaign finance reform, and government oversight.

How did you come to receive the Lincoln Student Laureate Award?
The summer before my senior year at Loyola, I attended a roundtable discussion with Senator Durbin regarding social justice issues facing college campuses today. I participated as an environmental justice student representative. After that roundtable, I joined Phil Hale, Loyola’s vice president for government affairs, in numerous gatherings on campus relating to Loyola’s growing sustainability efforts.

I was invited to meet Representative Mike Quigley when he visited Loyola on a campus tour. Congressman Quigley is a Loyola alumnus who has a strong interest in Loyola’s environmental efforts. During my tour with Congressman Quigley, Phil Hale invited me on the trip to D.C. to meet with Congressional offices and federal agencies. There, Phil told me I had been selected as the Loyola Lincoln Laureate, based on my academic achievements and campus leadership.

How did the Lincoln Laureate award affect your life/career?
The Lincoln Laureate award helped me connect with one of my mentors who has been my guide post during my move to D.C. and my search for a job on Capitol Hill. The award helped me realize opportunities that I would not have otherwise considered.

Anything else you'd like to say?
I was fortunate enough to have some unbelievably supportive mentors during my time at Loyola that pushed me to pursue opportunities I would not have recognized otherwise. If you would have told me on my first day that my entire Loyola experience would be shaped by work around environmentalism, I wouldn’t have believed you. I am eternally grateful to Loyola for helping me discover my true passion and drive.