Political Science Alumnus Strives for Service
University of Central Florida Department of Political Science alumnus Anthony Velardi, ’15, has always focused on the big picture.
He came to UCF from his small hometown of Port St. Lucie because it offers a program in International and Global Studies. He was also drawn to the university’s reputation as being one of the most innovative schools in the country. He graduated with his undergraduate degree in 2015. He thinks that the decision was a wise one, career-wise and life-wise.
“This degree in particular helped me gain a wider sense of the world’s political systems, non-governmental aspects, and humanitarian efforts that take place,” Velardi said. “It made me more confident to pursue my goals.”
Velardi is currently working toward his Master of Science degree in Global Development online through Arizona State University. He also just finished an apprenticeship with Americorps Central Florida. He was placed in the City of Longwood as a public ally. Only 30 people were chosen for the position out of 650 applicants.
The program taught Velardi about leadership, service and community engagement. He worked full-time as a volunteer to the city and received mentorship from professionals.
During his time with Americorps, Velardi worked in many different areas. He contributed to a project that raised funds for low-income high school students to attend college and got to design and implement some of his own ideas, among other things.
“Americorps helped me to grasp an understanding of how important community engagement can be for a city. It helps bring people together,” Velardi said.
The graduate said that his best memory at UCF is his friends. He made many connections during his time at the university and thinks current students should try and do the same. He also stressed the importance of the numerous resources UCF has to offer.
“There is no way to fail in life after UCF with the amount of resources they offer to students,” Velardi said. “My time at UCF was the greatest time of my life. I met great people, fell in love with an amazing woman, and took away things about myself that I will always appreciate.”
As a current student, Velardi is busy learning. He eventually wants to start his own non-profit organization geared toward the financial and cultural development of low-income areas of the United States. It is an ambitious goal, but he believes it is achievable.
He said “I know that no matter what path I select, I want to be able to serve in some aspect of my life with the knowledge I obtained from UCF.”