PORTRAITS BY CHUN-LI 'KEN' HUANG
Andrew Montalti considered himself as the “quintessential nerd” while growing up in Long Island, NY. “I was a big nerd about everything as a kid,” he recalled. “Now I’m just really good at hiding it.”
He collected things from cards to magazines like National Geographic and played video games frequently. He enjoyed riding his bike around his Bellmore neighborhood and visiting the public pool with his mother and younger brother, Kevin. But his most fond memory is paying visits to the library with his mom. He marveled at books about pirates, dinosaurs, and medieval armor. This inquisition has motivated him to become an individual constantly seeking to learn and to carve his own path.
Andrew’s love of history in high school inspired him to declare a political science major when he arrived at Marist College. “[My younger self surmised] ‘political science sounds like applied history, I’m going to do that,’” he recalled with a laugh. “I had no idea what political science was, I’m the worst political science major ever.”
Andrew Montalti's Childhood Image
“If you have not learned to love learning, learn how to—and learn to love it for just the sake of it, instead of for some kind of end goal.”--Andrew Montalti
While in high school, Andrew also took a liking to Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s renowned Freakonomics, a novel that simplifies economics through use of incentives. The book, combined with the desires to do things differently than anyone before him had done and to keep learning, this eventually encouraged him to declare a second major in economics.
LIFE AT MARIST—On campus, Andrew is a member of the Honors Program and serves as the Resident Assistant of the Honors floor in North End Housing Complex Building A. Honors Program director Dr. James Snyder stated that Andrew has done a “tremendous job” with his responsibilities as an RA.From crafting programs to helping Dr. Snyder cook a massive Thanksgiving dinner for Honors students, “the students [have come to] adore him,” according to Dr. Snyder.
Andrew was also elected the President of Student’s Promoting International Engagement, formerly the United Nations club, the secretary of Phi Sigma Alta, the Political Science Honors Society, and interned at Northwestern Mutual as a college financial representative.
Andrew additionally began writing for SnoQap Financial, a blog that, according to their website, “explore[s] topics in economics, political science, and finance, founded and run by college students,” in October of 2016. Currently, he has written a total of 22 compositions for the blog and personally enjoys working on a personal finance, or “adulting”, series. “[My] favorite articles were the ones where I got to be a little zany and had a little bit of fun with it,” said Andrew. “Most of my articles can be a little foreboding.”
“[Writing] is something that I’m fairly good at and I think it’s a great way for me to help express the things that I’m learning about. I like to do research and learn[ing] about things I’m unfamiliar with and try[ing] to understand them.”
Andrew Montalti is most recognizable on campus as the Resident Assistant of the Honors floor in Building A. Andrew's fascination with combining the business world into politcal discussions has led him to write for blog SnoQap Financial, study abroad and intern in London as part of the Hansard Scholar's Program, and present research he conducted while abroad at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Atlanta, GA.
ACROSS THE POND AND BACK— Andrew’s most memorable experience throughout college was his study abroad trip to London as part of the Hansard Scholars program. While abroad, he interned as a Parliamentary Staff Intern for Craig Mackinlay, a junior MP for the House of Commons.
When reflecting on his time studying in London, Andrew considered this internship the best he could have ever had. As a Parliamentary Staff Intern, he had full access to the palace, spectated a parliamentary debate, and even had the chance to touch the copy of the Declaration of Independence sent to King George III from America.
Aside from these experiences, study abroad also served as an awakening for Andrew. “Going abroad really had me nail my personality and had me learn who I was and [what] made me authentic,” he reflected. “I was never really trying to be something I wasn’t. I just owned my interests and didn’t hide them from people. I owned my life and the little idiosyncrasies and awkwardnesses of the things I do.”
Others are also noticing this change. “He’s a person with a strong moral compass who has grown more confident in who he is over the years,” noted Dr. Snyder. “Through his intelligence, his stability as a person, and the fact that he’s a really good friend, I think he’s been a really important person to people on this campus. He’s the rare mix of really profound intelligence with a concern for others, which you don’t always find.”
While abroad, Andrew additionally researched the impact of inequality and unemployment on the level of support for Scottish independence. Upon return to the United States, he presented his findings at the National Collegiate Honors Council, or NCHC, Conference in Atlanta, GA. The NCHC, an organization that “supports and promotes undergraduate honors education,” holds a conference annually that lets students share their research with industry professionals and other attendees. Dr. Snyder orchestrated his, along with a few other student’s, involvement in the event after sending out an email for applications.
The conference was a good experience to Andrew, overall, even though it was what he referred to as a “little fish in big pond” scenario. He noted that not a lot of students studying political science or economics attend conferences such as these to present research and was glad he was able to partake in it.
Andrew feels a deep connection to the Honors Program and to Snyder himself. “If the Honors Program had to do one thing for me, interacting with Dr. Snyder and having someone in an environment in which hard, technical skills are emphasized [was eye-opening]. The idea that, whatever you major in, this erroneous narrative that whatever you major in is what you’re going to do is wrong.” After graduating from Marist, Andrew’s goal is to work in a dynamic environment with something new each and every day in order to constantly meet new people and face new challenges. “Ideally, I’d like to work in a Goldilocks situation.” Andrew stated that he never wanted to stagnate in his work and desires numerous opportunities to switch things up in the field he pursues.
“What really matters, for me, are those critical thinking skills and, if you haven’t learned to love learning, learning how to do that and learning to love it for the sake of it instead of for some kind of end goal.”