Many majors pursue internships, independent research projects, study abroad programs, and other high-impact practices as a part of their political science curriculum. These are some of their experiences.
John Berringer: "I became interested in International Affairs after taking International Relations, so I decided to set my sights on an internship with the Federal Government in International Affairs. During the Spring semester (2017), I had the opportunity to move to Washington D.C. and intern with the United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security - Operational Medicine Unit (OMU). During my time with Operational Medicine, I attended multiple classes that the State Department holds for Diplomatic Security Special Agents and Foreign Service Officers. These included the High Threat Operations Course Medical class and a Foreign Affairs Counter Threat (FACT) Class, which was a weeklong class that covered topics including Ballistics and Attack Recognition, Security Awareness/Threat Protection, Personnel Recovery, Medical Training, and Intro to Explosives and Vehicle Search. I was also able shadow medical coverage of High Threat training and see up close the training that Diplomatic Security Special Agents receive before being sent overseas to various embassies. One highlight was being able to ride in a helicopter during one of the training exercises with the Special Agents. This internship confirms my interest in working for the Federal Government in the areas of International Affairs and Medicine and is something that I would really enjoy doing in the future."
Spencer Wingert: "Over the spring of 2017 I was lucky to intern for the City Manager of Platteville. This opportunity, coordinated between Karen Kurt and Dr. Nelson, allowed me to view local politics in action instead of simply attending a lecture. Writing policy, attending town halls, and gaining further understanding of the complexities of managing a small college city, were just a few of the great aspects of this experience. My work with the city manager led to an internship at the Capital in Madison."
Abby Alderson: "This summer (2016), I interned in the Governor's office at the Wisconsin State Capitol. As a part of the Governor’s Constituent Services department, I created birthday, eagle scout, and retirement certificates, letters, and proclamations. Many of the documents I created were handed out by Governor Walker himself as official recognition and congratulations from the State of Wisconsin. I also got the chance to work with the First Lady of Wisconsin at the Executive Residence and help the Residence staff set up events for both the Governor and First Lady. I was invited to attend the Governor's Fourth of July party where I was able to have dinner and mingle with the Governor and First Lady. This summer was an amazing experience for me and showed me the side of a political career in government and what goes on behind the scenes. I was able to see the interaction between citizens and the government and how that works. I was also able to better my writing and editing skills. I had to create many formal letters and certificates that were going to outstanding citizens, so the work that I presented had to look and sound perfect. It was hard, but rewarding. I enjoyed working for the Governor and the State of Wisconsin very much and I would gladly intern for them again. My experience this summer definitely has helped me in the sense of deciding if state government is what I would like to pursue in my future."
Emma Cleveland: “I was lucky enough to complete two internships within the last year. Last spring (2016), I packed up my things and moved to Washington, DC for four months where I was a communications intern for the federal government. I drafted talking points, social media posts, research, and much more. It was a fast-paced environment and I learned so much from my fellow interns and supervisors. In my off time, I was able to attend the Canadian State Arrival Ceremony and see President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau talk about relations between our two countries - particularly with the environment. I was also able to volunteer for the White House Easter Egg Roll where I ran into one of the First Daughters, saw First Lady Michelle Obama speak, and belted out 'Let It Go' with Idina Menzel. Besides these amazing volunteer opportunities, I went to a ton of museums around DC and Alexandria, VA and saw so many different historic sites. My favorite was my day at Mt. Vernon. It had beautiful grounds and amazing food.
This summer (2016), I completed a communications internship with the City of Platteville. Although not so fast-paced as the DC internship, I learned so much working here as well. I was able to work more closely with the residents of Platteville, and helped the Communications Specialist put out the new City Newsletter. I assisted running the social media accounts and took pictures all over the city. One of my highlights was helping people register to vote. Although it was a smaller election, I got some practice in before helping register people in November. This job was really helpful and gave me quite a bit of writing experience. I'm glad I was able to work at these two levels of government, and my classes at UW-Platteville really helped me to gain experience in communications and political science.”
Kayla Voorhees: "Over winter break of 2015, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain. I studied through SAIIE with eight other students from other UW programs. Given that one of minors is Spanish, studying in Spain was one of the most beneficial experiences I’ve ever had. I took a class called “Historical Monuments of Granada, Cordoba, and Seville” and had the opportunity to travel while studying in Spain for three weeks. I learned a lot about the history of Spain and had the ability to see some of the most historic places in the world. I also truly immersed myself in the culture of Spain. Adjusting to eating dinner at 9:30pm, speaking in Spanish constantly, and walking EVERYWHERE! I talked with a lot of locals and lived with a host mother who spoke absolutely no English. As you may have guessed, my Spanish has improved immensely. The food was incredible, the nightlife was amazing, and the shopping was even better! Although I was only there for three weeks, I learned a lot and met a few lifelong friends. I will most definitely be returning to Spain and visiting as many other countries as possible in my lifetime. If anyone has the opportunity to study abroad, do it! It is an eye-opening experience and it will change your life!"
Samantha Frey: "In the fall semester of 2015 I traveled abroad to Suva, Fiji. I attended the University of the South Pacific, along with many students from all over the world. Being able to study abroad has hands down been the best thing I have ever experienced. While in Fiji, I took International Law of the Sea, Political Ideologies and Development of Politics. These classes helped me understand Fiji on a different level, and I even learned more about the United States and its impact on other countries. This was also a hands-on experience for me. I made the most of my time in Fiji by snorkeling, climbing mountains, traveling to other islands, getting involved with the local life and enjoying the journey of a lifetime. Studying abroad has been one of my greatest accomplishments and Fiji will always hold a place in my heart. If you ever get the chance to study abroad, most definitely do it!!"
Liz Brunner: "While at UW-Platteville I became interested in student affairs in higher education, primarily due to working with students as a Resident Assistant. My sophomore year I decided I wanted to gain my graduate degree in student affairs so I could continue working closely with students in higher ed upon completion of my undergraduate work. I was fortunate to have many great mentors both in the Political Science department and Res Life that helped guide me in my graduate assistantship search during spring semester 2015. I attended the Oshkosh Placement Exchange in February 2015 and after interviewing with various universities, I excitedly accepted a graduate assistantship at the University of Central Missouri. I will be working as a Residence Hall Director for University Housing while gaining my master’s in College Student Personnel Administration. I look forward to supervising a staff of student advisors, student governance, and assisting residents. I really enjoy developing relationships with students and helping them gain the most out of the university experience!"
James Pechacek: "Over the Spring semester of 2015, I worked with Dr. Sappleton on an independent study project. My project was on the topic of presidency and if a female could legally run this country. The constitution uses male-specific language, especially when it talks about the job of the President. I looked at the Constitution through the originalism and living document theories and studied the Federalist Papers and other works done by scholars. I got to see many different views to the constitution just through doing the research and reading what the Supreme Court Justices had to say about the Constitution. I really enjoyed working with Dr. Sappleton on this project. She helped guide me to the next sections of the project when I did not know where to go next and she gave me great feedback on the writing and where to look for more information."
Kyle Mitchell: "I have strived to become a practicing attorney since I started undergrad at UW-Platteville. This fall, I will be attending DePaul School of Law, with the dream to transfer to Northwestern University School of Law in the fall of 2016. I plan to focus on Human Rights or Criminal Law. I was a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science, which gave me a fantastic background in the Criminal Law field that I will take with me in the coming years. My senior year I was privileged to work with Dr. Nelson on an independent study project, creating a double case study involving the FIFA World Cup and the corporate sponsors that fuel the fiscal backbone of the tournament. Gathering the data for the project was very complex and frustrating at times, but in the end I would recommend independent projects if given the opportunity. Not only is it a new way to learn, but it better equips you with the writing and research skills necessary in any graduate program."
David Merrick: "Over this past summer, I had the great privilege of interning with Representative Paul Ryan in the Majority House Budget Committee. Throughout the summer, I worked with the staffers on important issues facing the government. For example, I closely studied issues related to federal prison system and recidivism. This was very fascinating for me because my minor is Criminal Justice. I was also able to work closely with some very intelligent people who deal with National Defense and Foreign Affairs. One aspect of my internship that I really enjoyed was being intricately involved with budget hearings. These hearings involved calling in witnesses and hearing testimonies on current issues facing the hill. The most interesting hearing was when head officials of the intelligence community were called in to give testimonies about the upcoming Overseas Contingency Fund (OCO). I gained such great knowledge of a very intricate part of the government, committees, and learned even more about the process of how government functions on a daily basis."
Max Grimm: "During the summer of 2014, I studied abroad in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Germany. My colleagues and I studied and researched the history of science and technology in Europe from the 16th Century to the present. We were able to visit sites and museums in Prague, Amsterdam, Leiden, Dresden and many other cities in the countries we stayed in. Choosing the study abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I have seen how Dutch and Czech culture is different than American culture; and I was able to meet great people and see beautiful cities and sites. I really enjoyed meeting the locals and talking to them about their country, history, and the United States. I really hope I have the opportunity to travel abroad again and I would really like to return to the Netherlands."
Tanner Gille: "In the spring semester of 2014, I studied abroad in Rome at the American University of Rome. It was the best experience I have ever had! The part I enjoyed the most was being able to study political science and history firsthand. For example, in class we discussed the events of the Roman Empire and would then go visit the actual places where they happened. That is something that you can only do if you are in Rome. I also had the opportunity to travel all over Europe. I traveled almost every weekend I was there. I experienced everything from crawling in the depths of the catacombs of Paris to skiing down mountains in the Swiss Alps. I could talk forever about the travels I had and the people I met. If you are thinking about studying abroad DO IT! It will truly be one of the greatest things that you will ever accomplish."
Brittney Hayes: "During the fall semester of 2013, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy. I had been dreaming of the day that I would be able to study abroad and gallivant around a foreign country ever since I began my college career. I was so excited during the application process that I do not think I was able to mentally prepare myself for what I was getting into. I did struggle with homesickness for a majority of the semester, but the experiences I had while abroad trumped all the uneasiness that I felt. To have the opportunity to live in Italy and see everything that Rome had to offer, and also to see the rest of Europe, places I had only seen in pictures on the internet, was the most incredible thing I have experienced in my life. If I could do it all over again, there is no doubt in my mind that I would take that opportunity, and I would stay longer!"