“The people I have met at Indiana University have fostered some of the best years of my life,” noted Rivkah Bunes (’25), a College of Arts and Sciences student with a double major in Political Science and Jewish Studies, and a minor in History.
Student spotlight: Rivkah Bunes
One way to describe her path to, during, and after IU is that of community, academic excellence, and purpose. Originally from Indianapolis, Bunes said of her journey, “I attended a small Jewish day school for my primary education that fostered my passion for justice, kindness, and equality. I decided to go to IU and the College because I knew that I was guaranteed to have the best education I could possibly get in my fields of study.”
Currently a junior, “I aim to go to law school to enter the field of civil rights litigation,” after graduating, Bunes added.
What attracted her to IU was that the College’s Political Science, Jewish Studies, and History departments are well regarded throughout the country, Bunes explained. “Particularly Jewish Studies, which is rated with Columbia University as one the top two programs in the U.S.”
Before enrolling at IU Bloomington Bunes researched the different opportunities in each program, specifically, courses offered. “I felt IU had some of the most interesting classes and was confident that I could excel throughout my four years here. I thought there was no better preparation for my career than being a student in the College of Arts and Sciences.”
As a first-year student on campus she was a part of the Civic Leaders Center Living-Learning Center, a residential space for incoming freshman of all majors with a passion for civic engagement and leadership. “I met some amazing classmates and professors through the Living-Learning Center, and it opened my eyes to how much I could do, even as a college student,” Bunes said.
Meanwhile, with a passion for justice and an eye toward law school, she joined the Mock Trial at IU. “Becoming a member of that club was the best decision I could have made as an undergraduate,” Bunes said. “I have learned invaluable skills, such as public speaking, critical thinking, and formulating arguments for an audience that is unfamiliar with a case being tried. I even became the director for our annual tournament, hosting schools from 11 different states. It has made me confident that law is something that I want to pursue.”
This semester Bunes is participating in the POLS (Politics, Opportunity, Leadership, Social Entrepreneurship) Washington, D.C. Internship Program, a semester-long residential program in the nation’s capital offered through the Political Science department. “The POLS D.C. program is one of the best things I’ve done for my academic and professional career. Coming to Washington has taught me so many lessons about myself and the political world in which I plan on having a career. There is nothing like the experience of putting yourself into the political arena as a college student.”
In addition, this past summer Bunes worked as in intern at the Marion County Prosecutor's Office in downtown Indianapolis. “I worked in the Second Chance Division, a division aimed at restoring individual's driver's licenses by dismissing traffic violation fees that are barriers to many people's driving abilities,” she explained.
She helped to prepare Special Driving Privileges dockets, court-sanctioned privileges for individuals that have a long or lifetime suspension on their license, so that individuals can be a contributing member of society in a city with limited public transportation. “As someone who could not afford to be an insured driver until this past year, I know firsthand what being able to drive can do for a person's life,” Bunes said. “It was gratifying to work where I helped people attain driving abilities and learn about how laws that impact daily life for many people are taken for granted.”
Bunes was the recipient of the Larry D. and Shelley M. Singell Arts and Sciences Internship Scholarship, offered through the College’s Walter Center for Career Achievement. “Without the support of the Singell Scholarship I would not have been able to accept my summer internship, which has been incredibly valuable for my future career. My internship has given me an inside look into law and criminal justice that is invaluable, and an opportunity that is only awarded to few. Without the scholarship, I am unsure how I could pursue this internship, and for this I am beyond grateful.”
On her path to law school, along with her extracurricular activities and programs at IU, “I have made connections with professors that have supported and uplifted me, which is the single most important aspect of being in class,” Bunes said. “I have been lucky enough to have so many amazing and caring professors.”