Poli sci major relishes his semester in the nation’s capital


Courtesy, Alejandro Arias Esparza

Courtesy, Alejandro Arias Esparza

Imagine walking past monuments commemorating those that built this country on your way to work, only to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who are continuing the legacy today. For six Wichita State students participating in the political science department’s Washington D.C. internship program, this dream is a reality, if only for the semester.

Among these students, Alejandro Arias Esparza works as a research intern with an emphasis on law and policy at FairVote, a non-profit, non-partisan group focused on reforming voting structures. On top of the obvious work experience gained from the opportunity, however, Arias said he’s getting much more from his semester in the nation’s capital.

“It is such a unique experience to say that you’ve lived in the epicenter of American politics and world affairs and more than that — worked there,” Arias said. “I got to mingle and shake hands with the few people that run this country. How cool is that?

“Being able to surround myself with people that share similar interests as I, and just being able to basically live alongside history.”

Though the internship does keep Arias busy, he said he still has plenty of time to explore the D.C. area.

“My favorite thing so far has been being able to go to all the amazing free museums and just being able to meet representatives and senators that otherwise, I would’ve never been able to,” Arias said. “It’s a really unique experience.”

It’s not all fun and games, however, Arias explained. In fact, this particular internship has been more intense than most, in his opinion.

“It is more hands on — busier,” Arias said. “I work alongside people who know and have mastered my field, so pressure is on when it comes to performing well in my job.”

Though it’s not always the easiest experience, Arias said his internship will almost definitely pay off in the long run.

“Besides the newly learned professional skills, definitely the memories and the learning experiences that the program offered through the different seminars and the opportunity to meet other students from KU, who I would call friends today,” Arias said.

The internship program is put on in conjunction with the University of Kansas’s political science department, and funded through donations. Students from all majors can apply to the program.

“This great opportunity is not only for poli sci majors, and I strongly believe that everyone should apply and take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Arias said.

Students interested in joining the program, either in the nation’s capital or in Topeka, can contact Political Science Chair Neal Allen at [email protected].