For many students, their college major exists as a point of abstract—but not practical—interest. But for Ruthzee Louijeune, political science has become a way of life.
A Boston native, Louijeune has never been one to disguise what she wants or allow others' goals get in her way. In fact, that is why she came to Columbia, rather than other prestigious Boston universities.
"I always knew I really wanted to go to Columbia," Louijeune says, adding, "I feel like I have a New York personality, that's something I've always felt. ... I couldn't wait to get here."
Once in New York, Louijeune made her presence on campus felt, becoming extremely active in many student groups and committees. "I've always been socially conscious," Louijeune says, and it is clear that her predisposition to get involved and fully dedicate herself to a cause has led her to be a community leader.
Louijeune has put her passion for social justice to work as head of the Haitian Students Association, running a program called Each One Teach One, which brought members of the HSA to the outer boroughs to help teach younger Haitian immigrants. Of Haitian descent herself, Louijeune spent a summer working in the Dominican Republic helping Haitian refugees "navigate the bureaucracy."
Reflecting on her time at Columbia, Louijeune says she is humbled by the professors that she has had and the profound effect many of her classes and her friends have had on her. "Columbia's been great because I've had fantastic professors," Louijeune said.
"I'm so blessed that I've had them. The people that I've known are good people."
Looking ahead, Louijeune knows that her interest and experience in policy and politics will factor seriously in her future, though she hasn't fully committed herself to any one option. While her trajectory towards a career that deals with policy in some form seems clear, for now Louijeune is content to "let the path direct me rather than having to figure it out right away."
Still, the realm of possibility seems immense. After spending this next year in New York working, Louijeune hopes to return closer to home for her next years of schooling. "In ten years ideally I could be anywhere," she adds. "I like talking, so hopefully something that involves me using my voice as a means of communication ... I love to engage with people every day."