Laura Sorice is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) majoring in political science and minoring in urban studies and Italian. She serves as the treasurer of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, where she works to improve the quality of learning on Penn’s campus. She also works as a public speaking coach for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Laura writes about her reasons for interning at FIRE:
In an urban studies course on education during my sophomore year, I was asked to write an educational autobiography outlining why I was enrolled in a university and what I was hoping to gain from my Penn experience. Aside from preparation for a future career in law, I found that most of my reasons for attending Penn centered on garnering the following: a greater exposure to diverse opinions and an opportunity to form independent ideas about world issues. Suddenly, I realized that my college education was much less about the textbooks and lectures and more about the opportunity to explore new ways of thinking. And this would never have been possible if my university did not uphold the First Amendment rights that we are granted by the Constitution of the United States. If Penn restricted my ability to speak freely and absorb the ideas of others, the most important elements of my college education would be virtually non-existent.
After a great deal of exposure to the power of the First Amendment in courses like Constitutional Law, Religion and Public Policy, and Election Law, I was sure that FIRE’s mission was also a mission of my own: to help ensure that all students are guaranteed the basic liberties necessary both in the college setting and beyond. Far too many colleges and universities across the country attempt to restrict the First Amendment rights of students and in doing so cripple students’ ability to become freethinking and actively engaged citizens.
I hope that during my time at FIRE, I will be able to continue to learn about the power of speech across the country and the outstanding ways that such passionate and intelligent people are working to change current speech code standards. I am excited to play a part in protecting free speech at our nation’s universities, and I look forward to using this experience to cultivate my ability think and speak freely in an environment where others have the power to do the same.
Welcome, Laura! Be sure to check back on The Torch next week to see more from our new interns!