Autumn Guillotte has planned a career in public service ever since she first met her elected representatives at local parades while in elementary school. She campaigned for her state senator at age 16, and later clerked for the Rhode Island Government Oversight Committee as a URI freshman. She has advocated for women’s rights as an intern with the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women, fought for voting rights with the College Democrats of Rhode Island, and championed constituent rights as an intern in the office of Senator Jack Reed.
Her commitment was rewarded in April when she was awarded a Truman Scholarship, the most prestigious scholarship in the nation for students interested in a public service career.
“I’m the most awake and excited when I’m talking to people, working collaboratively and understanding how someone might have a problem and seeing how I can help them solve that problem,” Autumn said. “When you’re working with the broader community, you get to understand perspectives that you did not grow up with.”
In addition to her volunteer work, Autumn also held down two jobs during the school year – working in the URI Hunger Center and at a local law office. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer,” she said. “Even in kindergarten I was running around saying I wanted to be a lawyer.
Autumn eventually sees herself as a labor lawyer working with non-profit organizations that represent workers, taking on anti-discrimination cases, and working with the government to shape policies and laws to help protect people’s jobs.
“It gives me hope that if we continue to encourage people to participate in their communities and interact with their public representatives, then we can help each other create a sustainable future,” she said.