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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Jason Puwalski is a senior from Fort Myers, Florida in the Honors Program at Florida State University. Currently a Florida Gubernatorial Fellow in the Florida Department of Corrections, he balances his academic pursuits with his passion for public service, taking in all that Tallahassee has to offer. 

His academic life is multifaceted, as he is pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Political Science, as well as minors in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Humanities. He also holds a certificate in U.S. Intelligence Studies and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Applied American Politics and Policy through the Combined Pathways Program. Puwalski has his sights set on law school for a career in government and politics. He hopes to continue learning from others and exploring his interests as he progresses at FSU and in his career. 

Puwalski’s Leadership and Academic Excellence at Florida State 

Throughout Puwalski’s time at Florida State University, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and academic excellence. His success at FSU and contributions to the community were recognized when he was named an FSU Student Star. He has consistently proven his commitment to serving FSU’s student body by actively participating in a variety of organizations. During his undergraduate years, he has been an accomplished member of the Honors Program and the Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Honorary

Puwalski’s leadership qualities are further seen through his various positions within Student Government, where he previously served as Executive Director and Chief Student Lobbyist of the Office of Governmental Affairs. In addition to this, through his interest in diplomacy and international relations, Puwalski has also become the President of NolePac, a cadre of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) which focuses on advocating for a strong U.S.–Israel relationship. NolePac recently co-hosted a candlelight vigil with over 1,000 attendees in honor of the fallen soldiers and innocent civilian victims of the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel. 

Last year, Puwalski also worked in university administration at the FSU Office of Governmental Relations, where he gained a behind-the-scenes look at the university’s operations and day-to-day engagement with the State government. He also helped to facilitate the new FSU Legislative Internship Program, which he called “the best way for undergraduates to get involved in State government and take advantage of FSU’s unique location in Tallahassee.”  

Exploring Beyond FSU 

Puwalski’s involvement in government extends beyond campus life as well. He has interned for a Senate campaign where he successfully coordinated a team of volunteers, devised efficient advocacy routes, and participated in phone banking and fundraising. Puwalski’s research during the campaign was also instrumental in the development of televised campaign advertisements. 

After interning at the Office of Policy and Budget in the Executive Office of the Governor, his enduring leadership abilities were recognized by the Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program in Washington D.C., where he furthered his knowledge of the federal government and was selected as a class speaker for his internship graduation ceremony. Puwalski was also a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, the most prestigious public service scholarship for juniors in college. He shares, “Out of the six finalists from Florida, I was the only one who was actually from Florida, and the only one who went to a public university. As a first-generation college student competing against Ivy League students, I was proud to hold my own and represent the excellence of Florida State University.” 

Puwalski’s Dedication to Serving Florida 

Most recently, Puwalski has been accepted into Class XIX of the Florida Gubernatorial Fellowship, where he works in the Office of the Secretary at the Florida Department of Corrections. Puwalski’s father has served in law enforcement his whole career, which has inspired Puwalski himself to work in public safety. When asked to give advice to other undergraduate students, Puwalski states, “Never sacrifice your morals. It’s never worth it. Your peace of mind and conscience are worth a lot more. Stick to your principles.” Puwalski’s ability to lead with integrity has been inspiring, and as he continues with his endeavors, I hope that his legacy will continue to inspire future leaders at Florida State University.   

Following Puwalski’s involvement on campus and service to FSU, he was recently named a member of the 2023 FSU Homecoming Court, which marks the 75th anniversary of Homecoming at FSU. To keep up with Puwalski, follow him on Instagram.

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Natalie Willis is from Miami, FL and is studying Editing, Writing, and Media with a minor in Political Science. Find more through socials! Instagram: _nataliewillis_