Schar School Alumna Shares Unique Insights on Her Journey to Immigration Policy Work


George Mason University alumna Sophia Wozniak, who double majored in history and government and international politics, served as a guest speaker for the Schar School of Policy and Government’s International Relations Policy Task Force students during their spring break trip to the United States-Mexico border.

A young woman with long brown hair wearing a black shirt smiles into the camera.
‘The Schar School was such a huge catalyst in the dominos of me ending up where I am now.’

Wozniak, who graduated in 2019, shared with students her journey from a graduate to a project and data evaluator at the Emergence Health Network, a local mental health authority for the El Paso, Texas, community.

She emphasized how influential the Schar School has been on her career. While at George Mason, she served as a research assistant, participated in the Oxford study-abroad program, and completed the Arlington Fellows Program.

“My trajectory changed with the study-abroad program I did with the Schar School, a winter one-week immersion trip in Mexico City on U.S.-Mexico relations,” Wozniak said. “It was really informative, and it got me really interested in North American relations.”

Wozniak was so deeply influenced by her various Schar School experiences that she moved to El Paso after graduation to make greater change. There, she completed her master’s degree in political science at the University of Texas in El Paso. 

Before transitioning into immigration policy work, Wozniak was a program coordinator contributing to community development at El Paso.

“I worked as a program coordinator for after-school programs for high school students for three years where I provided job training, college preparation, general mentorship and family coordination,” she said. 

While she enjoyed her work in social services, she felt compelled to transition into policy work, leading her to the Emergence Health Network. In her current role, Wozniak focuses on government contracting for mental health services for people who are uninsured or underinsured, as well as working on internal policy in El Paso.

“The Schar School was such a huge catalyst in the dominos of me ending up where I am now,” she said. “If it were not for the spring break trip to Mexico, I would have never discovered my deep interest in immigration issues and policy work.”

For now, Wozniak enjoys the internal policy work in which she engages and the significant positive impact it has on immigrant and minority families. She hopes one day to return to the Washington, D.C., to further focus on policy, where she believes her personal experiences in El Paso will provide a unique perspective required for legislation impacting migrants’ lives, a view she feels policy makers often lack.