Internships are one of the first opportunities college students have to apply learning in the classroom to professional experiences that will help shape their careers. While Sophia Mazzariello, a member of the Class of 2026, is only just beginning her studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she has already completed an internship aligned to her long-term career objectives.

Mazzariello, a native of Troy, New York, pursued an internship with the Troy Family Court while she was a senior at the Emma Willard School. While she has always been interested in international relations, her passion only grew when she enrolled in a U.S. foreign policy course during her junior year. “Each time I dove into a class discussion about the success rate of a governmental decision in a specific time of crisis and how different the outcome could be had certain policies been outlined differently, I felt a spark of excitement.”

As a Troy Family Court intern, Mazzariello was able to observe proceedings directly. She also had the opportunity to go through case files and discuss the reasoning behind decisions with Judge Elizabeth Walsh, a fellow Emma Willard School alumna. “The experience has deeply motivated me to bring about positive change within my community and beyond,” Mazzariello said. “It has only reinforced my desire to enter the world of policy and make my best effort to ignite real change.”

Mazzariello is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business and management at the Lally School of Management, where she hopes to gain a good understanding of domestic and international business and economic principles. “Understanding how our domestic and global economies work, as well as how the business world intersects with the legislative world, will be a valuable perspective to have,” she said.

While Mazzariello always observed Rensselaer from a distance growing up as her family drove down 15th Street to get to her grandparents’ house, she is now excited to be part of the campus community. “I am eager to meet new people and forge more invaluable connections that will last well beyond my college career,” she said.