Feb 16, 2010

Change of scenery for students on Capitol Hill

by Taylor Overhultz

For many students at Liberty, internships are not only a requirement, but also a way to investigate career interests and clarify career goals, according to the Liberty Career Center. While many students choose to remain at Liberty and intern in the area, others have chosen the Washington Semester Fellowship as their avenue for credit.

“The Washington Semester Fellowship is an opportunity for students to live and work in Washington, D.C., during one semester and gain work experience, all while remaining a full time student,” Program and Placement Coordinator Brittney Williams said.

Junior Michael Desmond was sold on the Washington Semester Fellowship after finding that all of his scholarships and financial aid still applied while in Washington.

“In my mind it was a choice between spending another semester in Lynchburg, or using the same amount of funds to gain a whole new experience in Washington D.C.,” Desmond said.

Desmond is currently interning with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison R - Texas.

“At first I could not see how my internship on Capitol Hill was going to help me in my pursuit of a career in investment banking or corporate finance,” Desmond said. “However, many staff personnel working in my office have assured me that many businesses highly value candidates who know how the legal process in Washington works.”

Students in the Washington Semester Fellowship live in or around the Capitol Hill area in studio-style apartments at the Washington Internship Student Housing (WISH) with other Liberty students, according to Williams.

“Students are required to abide under the Liberty Way while in D.C. They are representing Jesus Christ and Liberty University, and all rules apply as if they were living in the residence halls on campus,” William said.

“I hear fellow interns (from other colleges) complain about how expensive their housing is, how far away their housing is, and how bad their roommates are,” junior Joel Krautter said. “None of that is an issue with the Washington Semester.”

Krautter is interning with a senior U.S. senator on Capitol Hill.
“I know that the things I have learned and been involved with in just two weeks here are preparing me to do a better job wherever I go,” Krautter said. “ I know that by the end of the semester, this internship will be a springboard for the rest of my life in whatever career I choose, whether it is in D.C. or somewhere else.”

Students receive six hours of credit for their internship and they also must register for two classes with Liberty University Online, according to Williams.

“While I am unable to work on any class assignments while I am at work, I do find ample time to complete my coursework during the evenings and some weekends,” Desmond said. “However, neither my school work, nor my internship requirements have inhibited my ability to sightsee and enjoy the city.”

Students must research where they would like to intern, while the coordinator assists with applications and making contact with organizations in Washington, according to Williams.

Krautter advises students to begin looking into what internships they are interested in at least one year before they plan to intern.
“With planning, you can build your resume in a way that will give you the best chance for getting the internship you want,” Krautter said. “Do not leave things to others. Things work best when you are pro-active. Take initiative and do it yourself.”

Contact Taylor Overhultz at
toverhultz@liberty.edu.
 


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