Student Star: Sarah Brophy

FSU student finds meaning through state policy work and refugee resettlement internship

Name: Sarah Brophy
Major: Political Science
Graduation: Spring 2025
Hometown: Weston, Fla.
College: College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

“I have known since I was in high school that my path to make the world better was in policy work. Florida State University has given me the opportunity to make this dream a reality”

Fast Facts

  1. Favorite Musician: Noah Kahan
  2. Academics: Is an FSU Service Scholar
  3. Research: Participated in FSU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program her sophomore year
  4. Pets: Has three cats named Catticus, Cleopatra and Carter

Ever since she was a child, Sarah Brophy and her family have been involved with organizations that highlight the difference legislative work can make in people’s lives. When deciding where she wanted to further her education, she knew Florida State University was the right fit for her.

“I chose to attend FSU due to its reputation as a leading university in undergraduate research and its proximity to the Florida Legislature,” Brophy said. “I have known since I was in high school that my path to make the world better was in policy work. Florida State has given me the opportunity to make this dream a reality.”

Brophy is part of the FSU Applied Politics and Policy Learning Experience (APPLE) Program, which includes a course on urban politics in the fall, an internship in the spring and a scholarship at the Washington Center in the summer.

“APPLE has given me opportunities that would be otherwise unattainable,” Brophy said. “Not only has it provided me with an invaluable network of people — both students and professionals — but with real world skills that will serve me for the rest of my career.”

Brophy has also worked as an intern for the Florida House Minority Office and then the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in Washington, D.C. She worked for the Washington Center where she was accepted into the Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program. The program is a partnership between the Washington Center and the U.S.-Japan Council and is funded by Morgan Stanley.

“While in the Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program, I was able to work with five other American students and nine Japanese students to solve issues in civil society and network with executives at large corporations, CEOs of nonprofits, and academics across the country,” she said.

Brophy’s interest in U.S.-Japanese relations does not stop there. She participated in “The Shogun’s Grand Niece,” a research project led by Annika Culver, professor of East Asian History at FSU, that tracked the history and relationship between Japan and the United States by following a Japanese noble family’s experience living in America. The research was presented at both the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) and the FSU Undergraduate Research Symposium.

“My research area focused on this family’s experience during World War II, the father’s life in the internment camp and how politics and prejudice played a role in the downfall,” Brophy said. “My research uncovered the intricacies of race relations in the United States, gender roles and norms between cultures and how disaster can lead to mass hysteria.”

Brophy is also the president of the Rosenstraße Foundation, which strives to commemorate the Rosenstraße Protests and inspire civil courage by giving students the opportunity to listen to preeminent speakers and undertake their own research. As president, Brophy plans events, coordinates speakers, conducts research and helps mentor fellow researchers. She is also an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) leader and co-teaches a class of 12 undergraduate researchers.

Brophy’s contributions to her community go beyond what she does on campus. Since February 2023, she has been involved in community service through Tallahassee’s International Rescue Committee, an organization that provides opportunities for refugees, asylees and human trafficking victims to rebuild their lives. Brophy worked as a peer mentor helping a family of five children acclimate to the United States, where she helped them with homework and planned outings to show them the city of Tallahassee and all the opportunities it has to offer.

Brophy turned this experience into an internship in refugee resettlement and policy and outreach work. With her experience in policy work, Brophy contributes to the organization’s understanding of the legislative session and how the legislative intent and content of bills affect the organization.

After graduation, Brophy plans to become a Foreign Service Officer before becoming a foreign policy analyst on Capitol Hill.

What were the biggest takeaways from your legislative internships?

My family and I have always been very involved in different service organizations and that experience showed me how much legislative work influences everyday people. I found that I loved the process and research involved so I decided to intern with my local state representative. My legislative internship taught me how to become passionate about things solely because they help people. Every task you are presented with is not going to be your favorite, but it’s important for causes larger than yourself.

How have your experiences at FSU impacted your career goals?

FSU has absolutely helped shape what I want to do in the future. Right now, the plan is to become a Foreign Service Officer before working on foreign policy in the legislature. I found this passion by attending an FSUShadow opportunity. The Political Science Department also offers an amazing program called APPLE (Applied Politics and Policy Learning Experience) which allowed me to go to D.C. this summer where I interned and took a class from an employee of the Department of Defense.

How has FSU helped you solidify your passions?

I have had an amazing experience at Florida State and there are so many people that have helped me get where I am. My research mentors, Annika Culver and Nathan Stoltzfus, in the Department of History really opened my eyes to how much I love research and the importance of historical events when looking at how and why leaders make decisions. Amanda Driscoll in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy has also served as a guiding force in the political science major and was an absolutely amazing mentor.

What resources offered by FSU did you find the most useful?

TJ Johnson at the Career Center has been, hands down, one of the best resources at Florida State University. He will be your personal cheerleader while also giving you the feedback you really need. The Center for Leadership and Service has served as a place for me to find community and get involved in meaningful service. The political science department and its APPLE Program was a life-changing experience that allowed me to truly grow to my fullest professional and personal potential.

What advice would you give to incoming students who want to get involved with legislative work?

I would tell incoming students to find their passion and dedicate themselves to it. If you want to work at the Capitol, find a legislator who shares your interests and passions and put your all into it! Your dedication will shine through, even as a freshman. It’s also important to remember that there are many different ways to be involved in the legislature that don’t include being an intern for a legislator. There are countless advocacy agencies and lobbyist groups in Tallahassee that are a great starting point.