Hands-on legislative experience opens new opportunities

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
September 29, 2017

The Washington State Legislative Intern Program brings more than 70 college students to Olympia for a one-of-a-kind educational and professional opportunity.  During the internship interns work for members of the Washington State House of Representatives or Senate while earning academic credit from their schools. Interns work alongside legislative staff to learn first-hand about public policy, build real-world professional skills, and serve the citizens of Washington State.

Two Seattle University Political Science students, Demetra Annest and Leslie Burnett, participated in the program during Winter Quarter 2017, supervised by Political Science instructor Dr Patrick Schoettmer.

Watch the video with Demetra, Leslie and Dr. Schoettmer.

Two Seattle University Political Science students, Demetra Annest and Leslie Burnett

Demetra worked for her home senator, Steve Oban of the 28th District. “Working for him was probably I think the best experience I could have had for this internship,” she said. “I got to see first-hand what a bill really was, dissecting it and tracking it through the process.”  With plans to go to law school following graduation, the internship also introduced her to attorneys working at the Capitol who were willing to share their experiences.

Leslie learned of the internship opportunity early on and knew it was something she wanted to do. One of the most memorable aspects for her came from working with two members of the House of Representatives, one a Republican and the other a Democrat. “I had a really interesting experience of being able to see both sides. Inspired by her experiences, Leslie has decided to accelerate her final classes and graduate early in December, which will allow her to apply for a position as a legislative assistant. “it made me realize that I want to be more politically involved and that this is definitely something that I want to do with my career.”

Dr. Schoettmer shares, “What we're trying to do is give students an opportunity to see how what they're seeing in the classroom plays out in the actual in the field.” Dr. Schoettmer explains that political science is a very broad and diverse field that lets students tap into lots of different areas, with graduates working in nonprofits, government, law and more fields. “The Internship Program really opens up the door for students to explore what direction they want to take their political science degree; I consider it an invaluable piece of the political science program.”