A House Mother’s Advice Took this Vibrant Voice to The Hill

bt4Education & Phi Mu Chapter

California State University, Fresno – Eta Zeta Chapter
B.A. Political Science, 2015

City, State of Residence
Hometown: Exeter, Calif.l
Current: Clovis, Calif.

My name is Britney Toste and I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. I attended Exeter Union High School and have been extremely involved with my Portuguese culture. Throughout my life music has been one of the most important factors in shaping who I am; music has been the foundation for which I have been able to express myself.  Music allowed me to further my leadership skills as a drum major in high school as well as develop a motivational and positive outlook in any situation.

In 2012 I moved to Fresno to attend California State University, Fresno.  It was the best decision I had made that day, for if I had not attended Fresno State I would not have had the wonderful experience it offered me.

Fresno State gave me the ability to apply for and receive a fabulous opportunity, the Panetta Congressional Internship offered by the Panetta Public Policy Institute.  The internship is offered to one individual from each of the 23 California State Universities, as well as one individual from Santa Clara University, Dominican University, and St. Mary’s College.  The internship is a three month long process where students have the opportunity to work in a congressional office of a member of the California delegation of the House of Representatives.

Through my travels in DC and my work on The Hill I was able to make connections with professionals and even meet some Phi Mu sisters from the Gamma Delta Chapter at American University while on a tour of the White Houses’ garden.  This experience-this sudden meeting-was sure proof of the instant connection that Phi Mu sisters have nationally.

Each student’s experience is unique and rewarding in its own way.  Personally, I was placed in the office of Congressman Jeff Denham CA District 10. Working in this office was absolutely amazing; I learned so much about the political process and the impacts that law making has on the public.  Daily I spoke with constituents, gave tours of The Capitol and soaked up as much information as I could in regards to policy that correlated with my areas of interest.  This internship gave me the necessary tools to work in a professional setting. It taught me how to communicate, how to become a better writer, and most importantly how to become a better listener.   It is because of this internship that I know the direction I want to take my degree in, and I am so thankful of Secretary and Mrs. Panetta for the amazing opportunity they gave me.

I am most proud of…

In the last few years I have learned so much about myself; the choices I have made in both my professional and personal life have shaped me in to the person that I see in the mirror.  My many accomplishments are the outcome of the effort and investment I have put into my future.  Every club, ever music activity, ever leadership role, every job, and every internship I have had, has molded me into what I truly believe is the best version of me.

The best advice I ever received was…

…from my house mother.  I was deciding whether or not to make the sacrifice of going ICMS for a due to my internship. She told me to believe in myself and my abilities; that if something was meant to be then it would all fall into place.   She told me that my dreams were important and that my sisterhood would support me in my dreams and be the ones to catch me if I fell.

bt2Phi Mu taught me…

…to be a part of something larger than just myself.  It has taught me to respect traditions and others, as well as what it means to be a true sister.

My fondest Phi Mu memory…

My fondest memory of Phi Mu is the time I was truly there for a sister during her Phi semester.   Looking into her eyes, all I saw was hurt, she had been through so much in just a few days.  I then realized that she was so much like me and that she needed me, right then and there for support.  I held her close and told her everything was going to be alright, and then I recited the Creed of Phi Mu to her.  It fills my heart with warmth to know that she is and will always be my little sister.

Even my best friends don’t know that I…

Even my best friends don’t know that I can crochet.

Three light-hearted things I can’t live without… (excluding family & friends)
Hmmm, only three? I suppose I’d choose:

  • my calendar,
  • my cell phone,
  • and wifi. My life would be extremely difficult without them.

I wish I had more time to…

I wish I had more time to for hobbies. I concentrate on doing as much as possible, however often times that doesn’t exactly give me a lot of free time.  I work and go to school full-time and what little time I have left over often gets spent with friends, family and my relationship.  I wish I had time to travel, hike, enjoy the scenery, photograph Yosemite, and I wish I had more time to play my trumpet; it seems like a lifetime ago that I was actually able to play my horn.

bt3Future aspirations/goals…

While I am not completely sure what the future has in store for me I aspire to work in government and public policy.  I have a passion for helping others and a strong desire to protect the rights of the individual and give people a voice in their government.  My goals include working in different sectors of public policy whether it be in different levels of government (local, state or federal), working in a congressional office as a constituent caseworker, grassroots campaigning, or even lobbying strategy for agriculture.

Source: B. Toste, September, 2015