Graduate Studies in International Communication Reveals Passion for Public Service

Andrea Ramos with Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
June 17, 2020

Andrea Ramos, a 2014 graduate of the Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in International Communication at The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies, credits St. John’s for her current success as Deputy Director of Constituent Affairs for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

“I was always very interested in communications and public relations (PR) and thought I would work somewhere in the marketing world doing PR for a firm,” Ms. Ramos explained. “However, while studying at St. John’s, I found that I enjoyed politics, government, and public service.” 

When she was researching graduate schools, the International Communication program seemed like the perfect match since it blended studies of communication and media, international relations and human rights, and public policy and governance, all into one program. “It was everything that I was looking for and had enjoyed studying as an undergraduate.”

Professors use real-world examples of how communication is used as a tool domestically and internationally; Ms. Ramos utilized this knowledge almost immediately in her current position. With the support of Dr. Basilio Monteiro, Associate Professor, Department of Mass Communication, who also served as Director of the International Communication Graduate Program at the time, she interned in Senator Gillibrand’s office during her second year at St. John’s. 

"Andrea, a soft-spoken gentle person, stood out for her astute and perspicacious observations and comments in the classes. She exuded caring and compassion in her dealings with her colleagues as well as for the larger society, which she always longed to serve." said Dr. Monteiro 

Ms. Ramos was eventually hired to be a member of the senator’s staff. “Public service and making sure that the government works for the people it represents is what I love doing,” she said. “I do not think I would have discovered that passion if I chose a different graduate program or another school.”

As Deputy Director of Constituent Affairs, she assists the senator in helping resolve constituent issues. Along with her director, she helps oversee a team of constituent liaisons who work directly with federal agencies to get individual constituents, nonprofits, municipalities, and businesses access to federal benefits and services.

Ms. Ramos specialize in matters of health care, insurance, social security, disaster relief, and agriculture. Through her casework, she helps the senator’s legislative team identify constituent needs and propose possible legislative fixes for the most prevalent problems. She also oversees outreach to those who file claims through the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund, which Senator Gillibrand helped secure full funding for in 2019.  

“My time at St. John’s opened my eyes to the world of politics and communications while instilling in me a passion for public service,” Ms. Ramos said. “The diversity of the St. John’s community is unlike any other; I am so proud that I was able to be a part of it and thankful that I got to learn from so many students and professors from various backgrounds. It prepared me for the work I do today in serving the people of New York on behalf of Senator Gillibrand.”