Maria Laverdiere ’08
I majored in both religion and political science. While at St. Olaf, I was a member of the student senate and the Board of Regents Student Committee.One of my primary obsessions, outside of studying religion and political science, was studying abroad. I participated in the Global Semester program, spent another semester aboard in Turkey, and an interim in Spain. Another life-long interest I started developing at St. Olaf was in conservation and environmental protection.After graduating, I had the great opportunity to intern and then work for Senator Amy Klobuchar, first in Minnesota and then in Washington, DC. While working on the Senator’s policy staff in DC, I studied part-time to obtain my masters’ degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. In 2013, I began working as a policy aid on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee for the Senator while she served on that Committee as Vice Chair. In 2015, I joined Congressman Keith Ellison’s team as a policy staffer focused on energy, environment, labor, transportation, and budget issues. I also serve as his policy liaison to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which he co-chairs.
My study of religion has helped me in working on public policy and constituent services for a diverse constituency by providing me with a better understanding of cultures and traditions different form my own. My theological studies have also helped me better understand and work with faith movements and faith based organizations working in the public sphere.