Finding a job after college is rarely easy. Cal State Fullerton alumna Victoria Elizabeth Gomez can attest to this firsthand, as she recalls the fall that followed her August 2015 graduation.
“It was definitely a tough time. A lot of people don’t kind of realize how long it takes to get a job,” Gomez said. “The process is very long and draining when you’re constantly pulling out cover letters and résumés and applying for different jobs.”
Yet Gomez’s persistent job hunt paid off. Last November, the 22-year-old was hired as a Marshal’s Aide at the United States Supreme Court.
Gomez enrolled at CSUF in 2011 as a history major. However, she quickly decided to change her focus.
Her parents are from Mexico, and Gomez visited the country every year. The summer between high school and college was a special one for her. As a graduation gift, Gomez spent the entire summer in Mexico with family, but she also had the opportunity to explore on her own.
“I started wondering why Mexico is so different from the United States, and why every other country was different from the United States. I got the political science bug where I just started wondering why things were the way they were around me, and I realized I wanted to do a career in public service. I wanted to make our country better,” she said.
During her first semester at CSUF, Gomez changed her major to political science. She later added a minor in international politics.
“With my political science major and international politics minor, I could have graduated within three years,” she said. “But I didn’t think I was ready to graduate, so I declared a second major in public administration, and that also helped me learn more about the inner workings of government.”
Gomez said that her entire time at CSUF was enjoyable. She became heavily involved in student government, serving on the ASI Board of Directors during her junior year and as the ASI elections commissioner during her senior year.
“She has probably one of the strongest work ethics of anybody I know,” said Christina Aldada, Gomez’s best friend and a CSUF alumna who now lives in Washington, D.C.
Gomez was interested in the Cal State DC Scholars Program at CSUF, but she didn’t apply right away.
“I waited until my last semester when I was ready to transition into my career and everything,” she said.
Stephen Stambough, Ph.D., the founding director of the Cal State DC Scholars program, said that Gomez was a prime candidate for the program.
“(Gomez was) the type of student that you want because you know that she’s going to get a lot out of the experience and she’s going to be able to build upon it, which is what she’s already done,” he said.
Gomez extended her graduation date from May to August in order to be a part of the program during the summer of 2015. While in the District of Columbia, she did a joint internship with the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
Aldada recalled Gomez’s excitement about the city and its opportunities.
“She kind of lit up with all of the stories she was telling about the experiences she was having,” she said.
Once her internships were over, Gomez returned to California, where she worked for her parents’ business during the day and applied for jobs at night.
“I was looking at jobs in either Orange County, LA or Washington, D.C.,” she said.
In late September, Gomez came across a job posting for a Marshal’s Aide position on jobs.gov. A Marshal’s Aide is responsible for a wide variety of tasks that range from transporting court documents to assisting the justices during court sessions.
“I saw this position and I was like ‘This is too good to be true,’” she said.
A month later, she received a phone call inviting her to come out to the District of Columbia for an interview. “It was an exciting time. It was obviously a lot of nerves, but it was really exciting,” she said.
After a whirlwind of flights, phone calls, background checks and contacting references, Gomez was offered the job.
“If you would have told me a few months ago I was going to be there, I would not have believed it. It’s been an adventure and I loved it,” she said.
Gomez’s first day on the job was Nov. 30. Because everything had happened so quickly, she stayed with Aldada for her first month in the city. Aldada recalls the anxious night before her friend’s first day of work at the Supreme Court.
“She had such a meticulous routine down,” she said. “I think she may have ironed her jacket three times.”
By the end of her first day, it was clear that Gomez was in her element.
“She came back and she just had this glow about her,” Aldada said. “You truly saw her passion for political science come out because she was so into what she was doing. I couldn’t imagine a better job for her.”
Gomez said that she loves her job and that she is also grateful for all of the friends she has found in the other Marshal’s Aides.
“It’s something that I didn’t expect, but something that I so appreciate because moving across the country, I feel like I have a family here now,” she said.
Her position at the Supreme Court is a two-year temporary appointment, but Gomez isn’t worrying about the future just yet.
“Right now I just want to focus on my job,” she said. “I’m fine with taking things one step at a time.”