By M.A. Student Vincent Schiffiano
This past week we met with Piero Tozzi and Mary Vigil from the office of Congressman Chris Smith. We did so on campus in the historic Curley Hall in the beautiful Vincent Walter room. The meeting was truly inspirational as those of us discerning God’s plan for our lives were given advice, told good stories, and given a layout of work within the federal government.
First, Mr. Tozzi discussed the work that he did in Congressman Smith’s office and on his committees. His work included human right advocacy, domestically on the sanctity of life and internationally in a varied range of fields. We had a philosophical discussion of the roots of human rights. At one point he asked us where our right’s come from to which the generally agreed upon answer was from God through the natural law. This high level discussion was very fruitful in framing the specifics of human rights work.
Then, Ms. Vigil spoke about the specific work within Congressman Smith’s office and the federal government more broadly. Her message was that we have to hold fast to our principles while still being savvy. “We have to be innocent as lambs but wise as serpents” she said, quoting scripture. She discussed various aspects of work within Congress, in different agencies such as USAID and the State Department.
Both speakers gave us a vivid picture of what work in the government is like. They were honest about its difficulties and convincing on its strong points. This way of getting to see the specifics of what a field of work is like is how I found myself attracted to the MA program in the first place.