Live, learn, and intern in the nation’s capital. Through Butler’s Washington, DC Learning Semester, student’s complete internships with governmental offices and agencies while taking classes on foreign policy and the history and public art of Washington.

Emma Chamley
Political Science and Journalism double major
Champaign, Indiana

Why did you want to participate in the Washington DC Learning Semester?
The Washington DC Learning Semester was something that initially drew me to Butler. I was interested in studying abroad but was intimidated by spending an entire semester overseas. I’ve always been drawn to the news and politics, both of which are centered in DC. I was excited to test out living and working in a big city.

Where are you interning and how does this internship relate to your major?
I am interning at the Office of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin. This internship has allowed me to use the knowledge I’ve learned in my Political Science classes and the skills I’ve developed as a Journalism major. I write every day at Senator Durbin’s office, something I credit my Journalism classes for helping me succeed. I am working on the Education/Judiciary policy team for the semester. I attend weekly briefings on the Hill and write summary memos for the staff working on Education/Judiciary issues. I’ve been able to participate in some amazing events and get to hear from people who are experts in their field.

Following the news is also an essential part of work on the Hill, and being able to read and analyze the news is something I do in class all the time. Every week, I help choose and summarize important Illinois Education news stories to brief the Senator. I’ve also learned great networking skills here. Making students feel comfortable communicating with supervisors and making connections is a top priority at Butler. 

What’s the best thing about being a Bulldog?
The best thing about being a Bulldog is the small size of the campus. I feel like I’ve been able to advocate for myself and stand out academically because of the small programs. My professors know who I am and what I am capable of. I also love that everyone knows each other. You’re bound to see at least five people you know from classes, clubs, or Greek life when you’re walking around campus.

Which faculty member has inspired you the most and why? 
Last semester, I took a State and Local Government and Politics class with Dr. Rhea Myerscough. I loved it! She’s such an understanding professor who cares a lot about her students. In her class, we wrote policy memos about a problem we saw in our local government, allowing us to dive into issues we wanted to solve in our communities. This type of writing is a large part of my internship now. Seeing how our work in Dr. Myerscough’s class translates into real life has been nice.

What do you want to do upon graduation? 
It would be incredible if I came back to Capitol Hill after graduation. It’s been amazing connecting with such hardworking and dedicated professionals here in DC, many of whom are Butler graduates. For now, I’m mostly thinking about learning as much as I can in DC before returning for my final year at Butler.