Madeline Dyer never planned to apply to UC Berkeley. Like many high school students she thought it was out of her league, and probably not the right fit for her, given Berkeley’s reputation as a liberal mecca and Madeline’s passion for conservative politics.
But apply she did, at the encouragement of ESM Group founder and Senior College Counselor Billy Downing.
“Maddie wanted the ‘big school’ experience, and she is very competitive and very intelligent. Plus, for California residents, Berkeley is a great value. So I suggested she consider it.” Billy said.
And thanks to that guidance, Madeline is now thriving as a sophomore in Berkeley.
Maddie just finished her term as Public Relations Chair at her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. She’s on the board for the Berkeley College Republicans and California College Republicans, works in student government, and tutors elementary school students through the Sage Mentorship Project once a week. She’s studying American politics and will spend this summer in Washington DC interning for the Institute on Business and Government Affairs.
Madeline was a driven student in high school, but one who had difficulty obtaining the kinds of SAT scores she wanted. She struggled too with identifying the particular kind of school and college experience she wanted for herself. And then, upon the recommendation of friends, she met Billy.
“Billy connected me with an SAT prep tutor who was a huge help. They really helped me raise my scores higher than I expected to on my own, and when I met Billy, he helped me figure out what I was looking for in a college—where I should apply and where I could be focusing my energies,” Madeline says.
She said she’s been able to maintain that focus she developed with the help of ESM, excelling academically and in her life outside of school.
When she graduates, Madeline wants to work in energy policy, preferably for a multinational corporation in their government affairs division. Madeline is quick to acknowledge the global nature of climate change and energy policy, and hopes to help America become a global leader in policy enactment. She sees herself traveling the world, meeting with international leaders to, as she puts it, “figure out how the bad guys like big oil companies can actually be vehicles for change.”
“If it hadn’t been for Billy pushing me to apply to Cal, to go outside my comfort zone and be more confident in myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Madeline said.
Madeline with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.