Kathrine Herzer has been an actress since she was 10 years old, but her role as Allison McCord on the CBS hit political drama Madam Secretary changed her life. While the California native had small roles in movies such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith and A Lot Like Love, her recurring role alongside stars such as Tea Leoni and Keith Carradine took her career to the next level.

Madam Secretary is the best,” Herzer told CBS Local in a recent studio interview. “I got the part when I was a junior in high school and I would commute back and forth to New York when we started filming. It’s the best group of people to work with and we have these amazing scripts that create this great energy.”

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In addition to her work on Madam Secretary, Herzer is also a full time student at New York University. While her schedule has its challenges, the 20-year-old rising star wouldn’t change anything.

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“It’s a lot to balance, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Herzer said. “There’s so much that I get from working and going to school at the same time.”

Season Four of the show will be a big one for the McCord family, as Allison is on her way to college. The new season, which premieres Sunday, October 8th at 10pm eastern on CBS, will feature a more mature and empowered Allison McCord.

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“Allison is in such a crazy time in her life because she is going to college. She’s venturing into her own world, but the McCord family is so close that it just means that they are all branching out into this new area. I think this bit of independence will give her a lot of power, its an exciting season for her.”