The Office of Graduate Intern Programs would like to recognize one of our student leaders and intern. Cynthia “Liz” Sanchez, a graduate of Illinois College, is currently earning her Master’s in Political Science here at UIS. Liz is a Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI) who works with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) as the Environmental Justice Intern. Her job duties include composing and sending out environmental justice notification letters, using the IEPA database to search and update the status of permits submitted from facilities located near environmental justice communities, translating and proofreading any documents in Spanish, and responding to environmental justice related inquiries and/or provide guidance to available resources.
Since working with this agency, Liz has benefitted from learning about environmental justice issues and how these issues have been relevant overtime. She has also learned about how the environmental justice communities are affected and how the State of Illinois manages issues related to pollutant industries.
In her position, Liz has seen positive change that has occurred thus far and how more people are becoming aware of environmental justice concerns. With this being said, Liz believes she has gained insight into non-profit organizations and exposure to activism within the environmental justice field. In addition, Liz states this position has helped her discover that she would like to be more involved within different communities and their organizations to bring awareness and change to the social or political issues they may face.
After she graduates, Liz sees herself heading back to Chicago, Illinois to work with organizations and programs that provide higher education opportunities to high school students. We asked Liz what’s one piece of advice she would give to an aspiring graduate student and she stated, “I would advise them that grad school is tough, but you are tougher.”
Our office would like to thank Cynthia “Liz” Sanchez for her advice and continuous work as a GPSI intern. She, along with many other interns, are the reason the GPSI program has been around for over 45 years. Working within the public sector provides students with experiential learning opportunities, just as Liz describes. If you are interested in graduate school opportunities at UIS and would like to apply for GPSI, November 15, 2021 is the deadline for Springfield and Chicago programs.
Jocelyn Fluker has an Honors Bachelors degree of Science in Psychology from Indiana State University, and is pursuing her Master’s in Human Development Counseling at UIS. Jocelyn also serves as a Graduate Public Service Intern (GPSI) for the Office of Graduate Intern Programs, serving as the Social Innovation Intern.