Written by Colleen Boyle, Institute on Business and Government Affairs Program Advisor
Alex is a rising senior at Western Illinois University, where he is an honors student majoring in Political Science. Like many students who come to DC for the summer, Alex is a politics aficionado. His enthusiasm for politics is evident through his many extracurricular activities, which include being president of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, serving as a senator in WIU’s student government association, and presiding as a Chief Justice in the Model Illinois Government. Alex’s internship with the Security Industry Association this summer not only reaffirmed his passion for politics, but also gave him a serious case of Potomac Fever. Alex cannot wait to return to DC after he graduates next spring.
The Security Industry Association is a trade association which represents the business interests of manufacturers, service providers, and integrators of electronic physical security equipment. The SIA tracks legislation, raises awareness, and sets standards for over 480 member companies. Alex has been charged with the task of researching and putting together presentations about critical infrastructure protection. He has also been tracking legislation that will improve security systems for public schools. When I asked Alex to comment on his summer experience, he was spending the day shadowing a lobbyist he had met at a Capitol Hill briefing just last week. “It’s amazing how far you can get in DC by simply putting yourself out there, meeting people, and being polite.”
Alex says this summer has really helped him develop professionally. Though Alex has always had his heart set on going directly to law school after graduation, his experiences in DC have shown him that there are multiple roads to achieving his goals. He is now considering other opportunities to pursue before law school, such as working on Capitol Hill or working in a government affairs office. When I asked Alex what his favorite aspect of DC was, he said he loved how accessible the city was to interns. “There is a real atmosphere of possibility in DC. Every time I go to the Hill for a briefing, I am amazed by how many impressive people I have a chance to meet.” Alex is a prime example of someone who is not afraid to put himself out there and build connections. To all those DC interns out there, don’t hesitate to expand your professional network wherever you go!