Where are or did you intern? Briefly, what does/did your internship entail? For a week in the beginning of June I participated in an all expense paid leadership conference called New Leadership IL. The program is designed to increase women’s participation in Illinois government and the public sector. New Leadership has four core principles that influence every activity that the participants engage in during the week. Those four components are: Leadership Education, Policy Knowledge, Political Savvy, and Active Learning. Some of the activities we participated in during the week were public speaking seminars, diversity training, media training, lobbying seminars, and a mock hearing. During the entire week there are female state legislators, public officials, and lobbyists working with you and there to answer any question you had for them. It really opens the door to Illinois politics.
What aspects of your internship do/did you enjoy most? Find most challenging? The part of the conference that I enjoyed the most, but at the same time was the most challenging, was the mock hearing. There is one issue that the group has to research and within your team you have to make a Fact Sheet and then argue your position in front of current state legislators. This section of the conference is the most thrilling and intimidating part because it is exactly how a legislative hearing goes in the government.
How does/did your internship relate to what you have been studying at Illinois Wesleyan? This conference exemplifies everything that I have been studying at Illinois Wesleyan. Everything that I have learned at IWU made me more confident when I had to present our case in the mock hearing. Instead of just learning the ins and outs of public office in class this program allows you to participate and learn from the actual representatives.
Has your internship given you any insight into what you would like to do upon graduating from Illinois Wesleyan? New Leadership IL has given me a better understanding of state politics. I had never thought state politics would be something I was interested in but now it is a possibility.
What advice, if any, would you give to Political Science majors looking for, or even just considering, an internship? If you are given the opportunity to participate in a program like New Leadership IL you definitely should because you take everything you learn in the classroom and are able to see the real world implications. Every experience teaches you something different and strengthens you as a student and makes you better prepared for when you graduate.