Aligned with Leo’s Vision

Last month, we sat down with USFVotes lead and McCarthy Fellow in San Francisco, Sofia Sanchez, to discuss her experience with the McCarthy Center in advance of  the Leo T. McCarthy Award Celebration. In this week’s blog, learn more about Sofia’s experience in our programs, and how she plans to use the skills he has  honed in the future. This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Tell us your name, your major and date of graduation.

My name is Sophia Sanchez, I am a third year politics major and minor in legal studies, and I’m graduating this upcoming fall. 


What programs have you participated in at the McCarthy Center? 

I currently lead USF Votes, and I’m an Andrew Goodman Foundation ambassador, and I just recently this past fall participated in the USF McCarthy Fellows in San Francisco. 


What is the agency you work for as a McCarthy Fellow in San Francisco? 

I was placed at the Department of Public Works, and I primarily worked with the policy and communications team there. Public Works deals with all infrastructure in the city from the streets to sidewalks, painting murals—anything to do with building in the city. We do a lot of really great work and advocacy work for communities within San Francisco. 

What specific project did you work on with the Department of Public Works?


So I worked on the mayor’s racial equity action plan. I created some policy memos and worked on a matrix to kind of diversify and bring in a larger pool of applicants at Public Works. I am so happy that I was placed with this particular group, the policy and communications team, they were amazing. I learned so much from them, especially from my mentor, Beth Rubenstein. But I am so happy and thrilled to have worked with them. I learned so much, especially about the City of San Francisco. And just something as small as diversifying and opening up to different applicants is really great work that we were doing in the department. 


What skills and knowledge are you taking away from this internship? 

Before this internship, I had never written a policy memo, let alone worked on different software. I also became far more confident in my presentational skills. I had to present my policy memos to different bureaus, and it was just me by myself presenting to professionals. So I definitely got great feedback. I improved upon my collaboration skills, so I will never forget the internship that I had. It was absolutely amazing. 


Where will you take these skills and knowledge? 

I’m a first gen student, and I plan to become a lawyer one day, so I hope to go to law school and I think everything that I’ve learned from meeting with professionals, the kind of thinking on my feet and just being a good writer in terms of like policy memos and critical thinking, will aid me one day when I go to law school.


What do you know about Leo McCarthy? 

Leo T. McCarthy was someone who embodied being a public servant and working for his community and advocating for his community, and that’s something that I hope to do for people like me and my family. My vision aligns with Leo T McCarthy’s vision for the common good and that I want to be able to do work for people of the immigrant community and the common good are all people from different backgrounds, and that’s something that I aspire and hope to do one day.

Department of Public WorksLegal StudiesMcCarthy Fellows in San FranciscopoliticsThe Andrew Goodman FoundationUSFVotes

Leo T. McCarthy Center • March 31, 2022

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