No politics to it

Students intern in D.C., get jobs to impact constituents lives


Kylie Cameron

Senior Arely Navarette poses in front of the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.

Growing up, senior Arely Navarrete could always hear the noise of the television in her house that was usually set to a news station. While this may seem like a miniscule childhood memory, Navarette credits this to getting her to where she is now.

The summer before her senior year, Navarette flew out to Washington, D.C. on her own to intern with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute where she ‘fell in love’ with the city and its rich history and made it her goal to make her way back to the nation’s capital. With help from Wichita State’s Political Science Department, Navarette was able to make that dream a reality.

“[The summer internship] sparked my interest in coming back,” Naverrete said. “I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when, I just knew I wanted to come back. So Wichita [State] offered to pay me to come out here, which I couldn’t afford to do without them.”

Upon completion of her spring internship, Navarrete was able to find a job at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities where she helps other hispanic students, like herself, find internships across the nation at federal agencies.

“In the title we have ‘hispanic’ but it’s really for anyone who’s willing to put in the work and be a part of our little familia, our family,” Navarrete said.

Graduate student Eugene Potts, interning for Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, was another student that came out to D.C. with Navarrete, but unlike Navarrete, who is now preparing for graduation, Potts decided to go back to Wichita at the end of May to complete his degree and take over Student Body President Paige Hungate’s old job of field representative in Senator Moran’s Wichita office since she had to resign when she assumed the presidency.

“I have always wanted to be involved in politics, I have loved it ever since I was a child,” Potts said. “It is one of few fields that you have a huge impact in people’s lives. There are not that many minorities that work or intern here on the hill Senate or House side, I take this chance that I have been given seriously.”

Potts, an African American veteran, and Navarrete, a Hispanic student, both said that one of the reasons why they worked in politics is because they wanted to make an impact on people’s lives.

“I want to give back to the community that I love,” Navarrete said, tearing up. “I didn’t know I was going to make it this far. I hope that I can impact a child someday, somehow to be better for their family and, you know, for theirselves.”