Nick Sperduto '24 wears a navy blazer and tan pants and smiles while standing in front of columns on campus.

Nick Sperduto '24, Economics

February 8, 2024

Nick Sperduto '24 has taken advantage of immersive learning opportunities, including internships in Washington, D.C. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

"I think there's nothing wrong with seeking as many experiences as possible and finding the right path from there."

Many students arrive at Bucknell with a predetermined plan that's rooted in a singular lifelong passion. Nick Sperduto '24, however, saw Bucknell as a place for exploration, personal growth and self-discovery. He arrived as an undeclared major in the College of Arts & Sciences eager to try new experiences that would broaden his horizons.

Sperduto took a class with Presidential Professor Geoff Schneider, economics, which helped him uncover an unexpected interest in the subject. Schneider noticed Sperduto’s affinity for the public policy aspects of economics and encouraged him to apply to Bucknell’s Capitol Hill Internship Program (CHIP). Students selected to participate in CHIP receive a $450 weekly stipend to help cover expenses during a congressional internship. Often, internships on the Hill are unpaid, or “they offer stipends that are generally not realistic for college students trying to live in D.C. for the summer,” Sperduto says. “Having that funding makes accepting an internship opportunity more feasible.”

Sperduto secured a position with Representative Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Sperduto's home state. Sperduto's role entailed drafting letters to House leadership, answering constituent calls, giving tours of the U.S. Capitol and preparing daily response letters on issues ranging from energy to reproductive rights.

"I loved D.C. — being on the Hill is a good place for young people because you can learn so much there," he says. "Everyone has years and years of experience in policy and legislation."

When his junior year rolled around, Sperduto had a difficult decision to make. The idea of studying abroad had always appealed to him. But COVID-19 had already cut his time on campus short, and he felt conflicted about being away from Lewisburg and his friends for an entire semester.

Ultimately, he followed his instincts and chose to explore. During his four months studying in Madrid, Sperduto embraced the challenges of acclimating to a new culture and contending with a language barrier. "I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and be in situations where I felt uncomfortable because I knew it would help me grow," he says.

Back home in the States, Sperduto decided to return to D.C., but he didn’t want to replicate what he had already done. He took a summer position with Alpine Group Partners, a top lobbying firm that assists clients across a wide range of sectors with navigating Congress. This time, Sperduto was looking at Congress from an "outsider's perspective."

In his role, he helped prepare memos for clients at weekly congressional hearings, researched policy agendas and wrote newsletters. "I was exposed to a lot of different policy issues, which helped me think about what things I might be interested in," Sperduto says. "One day, I would be covering a hearing on China, artificial intelligence and national security, and the next day I could be covering something about energy production and critical mineral extraction in the U.S."

Sperduto is not fully decided on his future career path, and he's very comfortable with that uncertainty. He's confident that the diverse experiences he’s accumulated throughout his college career will equip him for whatever direction he chooses. "I think there's nothing wrong with seeking as many experiences as possible and finding the right path from there," he says.

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