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Nguyen Interns in Senator's Office with WIU in D.C. Program
Illinois Ag Connection - 05/14/2018

Western Illinois University senior, Megan Nguyen, of Peoria, IL, interned this spring semester in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth through the WIU in DC program. Nguyen is a Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) major.

"I was assigned under Senator Duckworth's policy director, so I was able to work on projects for a number of issues such as health, education, labor and environment," said Nguyen. "I've worked on projects that relate to both infrastructure and criminal justice, something I would have never thought would be interconnected. Being a legislative intern gave me a chance to see how intertwined everything really is."

Learning more about public policy and the legislative process, however, is just one part of this educational experience. An equally valuable aspect of the internship is the chance for students to practice and improve upon professional skills for the workplace.

"This internship definitely prepared me for my future career path," Nguyen said. "It helped me transition and adjust from being a small-town college student to working a full-time employee's schedule, all in a busy and professional environment. The many tasks given to me on a day-to-day basis not only helped develop my written and oral communication skills, but improved my organizational skills and strong attention to detail. I learned about my strongest abilities but more importantly, some of my weaker skillsets; through this experience, I was able to work to improve them for my future career."

Director of the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, Professor Jill Myers, said Nguyen serves as an excellent reminder of the importance of public education.

"She came to WIU with a dream, worked hard and took advantage of the outstanding opportunities available through our institution," said Myers. "I have no doubt that moving forward, Megan will accomplish great things, and demonstrate servant leadership as it should be practiced by leading with civility, trust and respect."

Working for the senator also carried special meaning for Nguyen.

"My hopes and dreams of working for Senator Duckworth, someone who represents not only me as an Illinoisan, but as a female minority, was turned into a reality through this internship," she said "This internship gave me experiences I never could have imagined, as well as opened so many doors for me. I would definitely recommend this internship to other WIU students."

The WIU in DC program was created by Director of Public Leadership and Outreach, Political Science Professor Janna Deitz. The program provides eligible students, from any major, an opportunity to work in congressional offices, federal government agencies, political organizations or professional associations for a full semester with academic credit. Prior to developing the program, Deitz served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

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