Madelaine Tesori: An Advocate, Voice for Change

Political Science Student Chases Her Dream to Change the World

Madelaine Tesori, a Weber State University senior double majoring in political science and communication with an emphasis in civic advocacy, is already a voice for the voiceless and is well on her way to being an advocate for policy change. She wants to change the world, after all. From aiding people suffering from addiction to learning the ropes of politics in Washington, D.C., Tesori has spent her time at WSU helping others and achieving her dreams along the way.

In 2016, Tesori was honored with a Newman Civic Fellows Award, which recognizes college students throughout the U.S. who invest in finding solutions for challenges facing communities. Her work as a board member for the Shannon J. Scholarship, a nonprofit organization offering financial assistance to those seeking addiction treatment, was inspired by personal experience. Tesori lost a friend to drug overdose.

“One of the last things my friend said to me was that she felt like the devil had a hold of her, and that she thought she was never going to be able to break free from it,” said Tesori, who since has dedicated her time to helping people overcome addiction. “Addiction is a public health issue. It’s a disease, and it can be treated.”

In addition to her work with the Shannon J. Scholarship, Tesori participated in an internship through WSU’s Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics & Public Service with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee’s office in Washington, D.C., during fall 2015.

A day in the life of Madelaine Tesori, intern, included managing Lee’s schedule, researching information for Lee’s meetings and interacting with veterans visiting Washington. In addition to escorting visitors through the Capitol, she had the privilege of listening to Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress (the first time a reigning pontiff ever addressed a joint session of Congress) and shaking hands with two of her heroes, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

“Being in D.C. was like being in the heartbeat of America,” Tesori said. “You never knew what adventure was awaiting you just around the corner, or who you were going to meet on your next elevator ride.”

Her internship wasn’t just a casual field trip, though — it gave her valuable insight into how people in the country were affected by a variety of issues. She listened to constituents’ concerns, which was sometimes difficult, but “it left me contemplating what my part would be in helping them,” she said.

Tesori said she felt proudest in the moments she was helping veterans. Tesori comes from a military family, and said that talking to veterans on the phone and being a caring, compassionate voice on the other end of the line meant a lot to her.

Tesori wants to make the world a better place any way she can. She is also passionate about the environment and hopes to affect environmental policy in the future.

Wherever life takes her, Tesori’s time at Weber State has helped her on her path to reach her dreams. “School showed me my passions, and the internship let me live them,” she said.