Hannah Scheenstra, Vanguard University of Southern California
This semester, I am interning on Capitol Hill with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform, and their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom has triggered my interest in military affairs. Having my brother in the military also opened my mind up to the life of a soldier and, therefore, encouraged me to pursue this opportunity to extend my knowledge on national security and defense issues.
Being the largest committee in the House of Representatives, HASC holds 63 members and an equally large staff. I get the opportunity to pick which issues interest me the most and reach out to the clerks or professional staff members to offer my help. Whether it be a hearing on emerging worldwide threats or just managing phones at the front desk, I continue to learn something new everyday. The work that I do in the office varies week to week. I assist with both full committee and subcommittee hearings, assist with briefings, and help with various projects related to the defense budget. Everyday I get to meet important military personnel and interact with multiple congressman and their staffers. At this point, I have lost track of how many different people I meet on a daily basis! Probably the coolest thing that has happened so far is seeing both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.
Needless to say, I am immensely grateful that I have the privilege to intern with this committee, even if it is just for 4 months. I have learned so much and I have seen myself grow in more ways than one.
Patrick Hubbard, Taylor University
I am spending this semester interning for the Clapham Group, a creative consulting firm out in Virginia. This organization does work for a diverse array of clients, and I have been able to work on several projects aimed at connecting people of faith with organizations related to social justice. My first few weeks were spent doing research to develop a new nonprofit through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one that would connect millennials of faith to international organizations doing ministry in the fields of development and public health. Through this project, I was given the opportunity to see what goes into the development of new organizations, and how international development must be approached from an organizational standpoint.
Another project in which I got to participate was focused on the racial and economic inequalities that affect educational opportunity across the United States. I attended a collective action meeting hosted by the Expectations Project (a D.C.-based education advocacy organization) and attended by representatives from the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners Magazine, World Vision, and the Center for Public Justice, among many others. At this convention, I was able to see power actually being exercised for positive change and was astounded that what I witnessed was actually something that could make a real difference in the lives of those who are discriminated against and unfairly disadvantaged. Through these two projects, I have learned much about the ways that Christians can utilize their social and political capital for good in the lives of others, both worldwide and domestically. I have been inspired by seeing strong Christians use their positions of power to effect real change and am thrilled that my own research and support can aid these efforts in some small way.