Student Spotlight: Gabriel Sandoval

Our student spotlight this week is on Gabriel Sandoval! Gabriel is a third-year student majoring in Professional and Public Writing (P2W) and Comparative Cultures and Politics in James Madison College. He was nominated for a 2022 Truman Scholarship for his outstanding leadership skills and record of public service, making him an impressive representative  of the ways in which P2W can prepare students for futures in a wide variety of areas.

One of his most recent accomplishments is the research he has done with Visiting Professor Martha Olcott and Associate Professor Simei Qing to study both past and present-day relations in the Middle East, work engaged through his primary major, Comparative Cultures and Politics. He is currently writing a thesis for James Madison College about literature, art, and architecture in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Egypt, and he says that he is proud of both this work and the important lessons it has taught him. “[This] research is not only something that I enjoy, but it [has also] opened my eyes to a completely different part of the world and a new culture, which has made me feel like a better citizen and more equipped to work on bettering global engagement in a career someday.”

Gabriel is also co-president of WRAC’s own P2W Club, which provides social and professional development opportunities to P2W students. Additionally, he serves as a writing consultant for James Madison College, volunteers as a debate coach and judge for local high schools, has helped at various summer school programs, and has worked with Syrian refugees who are trying to learn English.

One reason that he loves P2W is the compassionate, personal atmosphere. “P2W professors and students… make our major feel like a community,” Gabriel said about the program. 

He says that the P2W program has been a “perfect fit,” even though he had not planned on majoring in writing. “I originally came to MSU only intending to study Comparative Cultures and Politics… [but] I wanted to improve my writing abilities and learn new skills that I couldn’t gain from the classes in my major. P2W has helped me to be a better writer and researcher.” 

Gabriel added that P2W complements his primary major well, which has helped prepare him for a future career in public service. “My Comparative Cultures and Politics major has helped me realize what I want to study and what I want to do in the future, and P2W has helped give me the skills I need to do those things.”

After graduation, Gabriel plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Policy or Public Health. But no matter where he ends up, he says that his P2W classes have prepared him for a successful future in global engagement by allowing him to build his portfolio and teaching him how to write and communicate professionally in many different contexts.

Gabriel’s achievements so far are an outstanding representation of the ways that P2W classes can prepare students in a variety of majors for their future careers. He is an impressive example of the kind of community-driven work that we strive to accomplish, and we are proud to recognize his accomplishments.

Kara MacKenzie (she/her) is a sophomore at Michigan State University majoring in Professional and Public Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is the website and communications intern for WRAC, where she helps to create and implement engaging content campaigns that draw attention to people in WRAC and the amazing work they are doing. She is especially passionate about the intersections between rhetoric and social justice, and hopes to one day use her writing skills to benefit an organization that works toward positive social change.