Feature Story

Mr. Waters Interns in Washington

October 9, 2014 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan senior Luke Waters (center) discusses higher education at a recent news conference. Waters is interning with the Center for American Progress as part of the Wesleyan in Washington program. (Photo courtesy of Luke Waters ’15)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ohio Wesleyan University student Luke Waters says his semester-long Wesleyan in Washington internship is “experiential learning at its finest.”

While living in the nation’s capital, Waters is working with the Center for American Progress (CAP), an independent, nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives through progressive ideas and action. Specifically, he is working with CAP’s Generation Progress initiative, a youth activist sector focused on issues including gun violence and higher education.

“My Wesleyan in Washington experience has been amazing,” says Waters of Memphis, Tennessee. “It has been experiential learning at its finest. Not only do I get to learn about government policy, I get to help try and change it.”

Waters’ effort to help change policy included an opportunity to speak September 9 at a news conference to discuss the current “Higher Ed, Not Cost” initiative.

“Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Al Franken, and other Democrats were having a press conference to urge the Senate to pass a bill that would allow students to refinance their student debt to lower rates,” recounts Waters, who is pursuing a double major in international relations and politics and government, and a minor in Spanish.

“Going to the Senate was amazing, but the best part of my internship has been learning about the different tools to spark community movements,” says Waters, who hopes to work in community development for a few years after graduation and then attend graduate school to pursue an advance degree in either international relations or international development.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Wesleyan in Washington Program is an intensive, full-time internship experience, says program director Sean Kay, Ph.D., professor of politics and government.

It matches students with internship placements that reflect their educational interests and professional goals, and it opens doors to the Washington, D.C., policy community to provide real-world, hands-on experience that will benefit students no matter their future plans.

“This fall, we have been very excited by the work being done via Wesleyan in Washington by Luke Waters and also by Emily Feldmesser at The Brookings Institution, Mackenzie Sommers at the National Archives, and Gabrielle Creston in Congress,” says Kay, who invites students interested in 2015-2016 internships to contact him now. “It is a very unique and exciting opportunity to spend a semester doing full time OWU coursework, but in Washington, D.C., gaining life-changing experience and cultivating long-term networks for current and future success.

“Our students are not just studying the world,” Kay says. They are changing it for the better, too.”