“The experience and the connections I’m gaining are setting me up for a future beyond William and Mary”: Tyler Cattini ’25 describes rare internships, Salsa Club, managing busy schedules


The residents of Barrett Hall may know Tyler Cattini ’25 as their fun residential assistant. Salsa Club members may know him as their former president. Cattini describes himself as a “go-getter” and someone who does not shy away from new experiences, which is clear from his involvements here at the College of William and Mary. He is a public policy major and also interns at College President Katherine Rowe’s Office. 

From the suburbs of Detroit, Mich., Cattini decided to choose the College for higher education because of its multitude of opportunities for a career in public policy. 

The connections and the opportunities that William and Mary had compared to schools in Michigan and also the proximity to DC and the internship possibilities that William and Mary brought were far superior to what I could have gotten back in the Midwest. And so that is really what drew me to William and Mary, more than anything else,” Cattini said.

Since his childhood, Cattini has been set on studying government legislation. While he noted he grew up fairly privileged, living in such close proximity to Detroit, Cattini saw areas that faced poverty-related struggles. 

“Growing up around that, going to Detroit and seeing that, a lot of the questions I had as a younger person was, ‘Why and then what can be done about it?’” Cattini said.

At the College, Cattini was presented the rare opportunity to intern in the President’s Office, where he archives meeting notes, prepares for future board meetings and helps board members plan events around the school. 

Most recently, Cattini assisted with preparations for the annual “Road to Richmond” event, where around 30 students travel to Richmond to learn about the state and city’s legislative processes. 

“We showed them how the state legislature works,” Cattini said. “We met with state legislators, delegates, senators. We met with lobbyists. We met with former alumni, legislative assistants and gave the students an opportunity to hear about how the legislative process in Richmond works, to ask questions.”

Cattini highlighted the gravity of the event, and commented on how grateful he was to participate in organizing it. 

“We went to a reception where we had the opportunity to meet with these delegates and talk with them, meet with the Board of Visitors, alumni,” Cattini said. “The president of William and Mary was there, Katherine Rowe. And so, it was a huge event that we put on every year. I was part of that and helping organize that as well.”

Another crucial part of Cattini’s role in the President’s Office is attending the quarterly Board of Visitors meetings. He helps these meetings run efficiently by passing out fact sheets or printing off notes to give to the board members.

“Typical intern work,” joked Cattini. 

Cattini appreciates the experience of sitting in on these meetings because he has the opportunity to learn about the decision-making process and the inner workings of the College. 

“Actually attending the board meetings, you realize how complicated it is running a school, the very difficult decision that they have to make between, the financial decisions, supporting students and balancing everything in between,” Cattini said. “They do a really good job in doing that. And they work really hard.”

Cattini’s involvement on campus does not end with his internship at the President’s Office. Cattini is also an RA at Barrett Hall. 

During Cattini’s freshman year, he mentioned that his RA was fairly distant and not very involved in creating a cohesive community in his hall. Cattini felt inspired to make a change and decided to become an RA his sophomore year, where he managed a hall of freshmen. 

“I wanted to give them experience I didn’t necessarily have my freshman year,” Cattini said. “That was kind of one of my primary inspirations, into going and being an RA. And then, I kind of fell in love with it. Building community is a really rewarding work. So, I came back and I’m doing it again this year. I’m doing it again next year.”

Cattini also interned at the Democratic Attorneys General Association in the summer of 2023.

“When I was working for DAGA, their priority was electing Attorneys General in all the states across the country,” Cattini said. “There’s a statewide office, and we are kind of coordinating all of those efforts nationwide. I worked in DC and I worked as a political intern.”

Cattini described how his job entailed multiple responsibilities across the office.

“I was doing political work. I was working in communications. I was working in research. I was doing some digital media, working on a website and stuff,” Cattini said.

From his internships to his job as an RA, it is clear Cattini keeps himself fairly busy. But he still makes sure he has time to pursue his passion: salsa dancing. 

Cattini fell in love with salsa dancing in high school, after being convinced by friends to try it. Since trying it then, Cattini has not stopped. 

I went and we started with Argentine tango and I fell in love with it. And I have not stopped going since that first day. I have gone every week,” Cattini said.

He took private lessons all throughout high school, and when he arrived at the College his freshman year, he joined the Salsa Club. He spent his first semester learning new dance styles from upperclassmen, and when the position opened up, Cattini was elected the club’s president. Ever since then, he has enjoyed teaching dance lessons to the club’s members.

With all his commitments around campus, it is no surprise that balancing his schoolwork with his jobs and passions around campus has its challenges. 

Balancing school and work is tough. And I have to dedicate a lot of hours and I honestly really struggle between balancing schoolwork, work and then actually having a personal life as well,” Cattini said.

Despite difficulty managing all his commitments, Cattini emphasizes that his challenging schedule along with his course load is ultimately extremely rewarding.

The experience and the connections I’m gaining are setting me up for a future beyond William and Mary,” Cattini said. “That’s what I’m thinking about right now. And that’s what is pushing me to work as hard as I currently am.”



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