Four-year-old Victoria Antram began her career in politics by campaigning in a wagon around her town of Chandler, Arizona, on her father’s behalf, who was running for state legislature at the time. “Ever since then,” she shares, “I’ve defiantly declared I want to be a faithful Catholic policy maker.” After she graduates next week with a double major in Theology and in Political Economy and Government (PEG), Victoria will begin making that childhood declaration a reality. She will intern with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. over the summer, and come the fall, she will begin her Masters in Politics at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
[Victoria greets Cardinal Dolan at last year’s Scholarship Dinner.]
Integrating her Catholic faith with her daily life has been an important concern for Victoria, and one that has directed many of her life decisions. In fact, it was because she didn’t want to give up the integration of faith in daily life that Victoria made the last-minute decision to apply to AMU. She was attending Orientation at the University of Arizona when she realized how important it was to be “surrounded by others oriented by the same values and faith.” She applied to Ave Maria University, was accepted a week later, discovered that tuition at AMU was less than staying in-state for college, and broke the news to her parents. “They fully supported my decision to attend this small, unheard-of Catholic university on the other side of the country,” she recalls.
During her four years at AMU, Victoria has led a life balanced by faith and studies, leadership and service, community and personal development. She led the women’s household, Daughters of God. She served as President of Students for Life and as Junior Class Representative for Student Government Council. She was a member of the women’s cheerleading team, and the President’s Council. Victoria worked as a Resident Assistant, in the mail room, for Student Life, and in a dance studio in town. Academically, she excelled as an Honors Student, a Mother Teresa Scholar, and as the chairwoman of the American Enterprise Institute chapter on campus. Besides all these, she has one further accomplishment to brag about: convincing her younger sister, Brianna, to come to Ave. “Apart from being an honors student and a Mother Teresa Scholar, I consider my greatest achievement to be persuading my little sister to join me here in sunny Florida,” Victoria says. “These past two years would not have been the same without her.”
Victoria is well aware of the saying that religion and politics are the two subjects one should never discuss at a dinner party. That didn’t stop her from majoring in these two disciplines. Recently, she came across another saying, one that she finds much more appropriate: “Religion and politics remind us that we need each other.” That, more than anything, she says, sums up her decision.
“Through my studies and serving my immediate community and abroad, Ave Maria has given me a more profound and comprehensive understanding of human nature. This understanding has helped me mature into a more faithful Catholic, foster Christ-centered relationships, and will be fundamental to my professional goals in academia.” So Victoria reflects on how her experience over the last four years at AMU has shaped her.
When asked to name a highlight from her college years at AMU, Victoria says it was the chance to attend the Canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta in Rome this past September. She says it was a great way to begin her senior year. “Seeing the grandeur of the man-made churches reminded me of the grandeur of the human person, and how St. Teresa upheld that beauty and preserved the dignity of every person she encountered.”
With this sense of the grandeur of the human person, and a firm determination to keep her faith fully integrated with her daily life, Victoria heads to D.C. for the summer, and then on to graduate school. Looking to the future, she hopes to teach to her students the lessons she herself has learned. “Someday, I hope to pass on to my students some of the knowledge given to me during my time here. The service-oriented professors who genuinely cared about each student greatly challenged my mind and helped me discern my professional vocation.”
We wish Victoria the best of luck as she heads to graduate school, and we congratulate her on being nominated as a President’s Award finalist!
The President’s Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior of Ave Maria University in recognition of academic accomplishments, involvement in the life of the University, service to others, and exemplification of AMU’s highest Catholic ideals.