Incoming Student Senate VP Spends Spring Semester at a Washington, D.C., Internship

Bemidji State University student Josh Lively, a sophomore-to-be from Abington, Mass., spent his spring semester interning in the Washington D.C. as part of a partnership between the university and Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH).

Are you a BSU student interested in learning more about internship opportunities and our partnership with WISH? Contact Dr. Patrick Donnay, professor of political science

Lively, a double-major in computer science and political science who will be the vice president of BSU’s Student Senate when classes begin this fall, came to BSU to study computer science. But after meeting Dr. Patrick Donnay and Dr. Thomas Beech, both professors of political science at BSU, and getting involved in Student Senate, he added political science as a second major. His growing interest in politics led him to an internship fair at the University of Minnesota, where he was able to secure his opportunity in Washington.

Lively’s internship is supported by a partnership between the university and WISH, a Washington D.C.-based organization that helps students find housing during internships in the nation’s capitol. In addition to housing, WISH also can help place students in internships if needed. The WISH program connects its residents with other interns and provides social and networking opportunities in conveniently located housing.

Donnay, who coordinates BSU’s partnership with WISH, says there is room for many more students to participate in these internship opportunities.

“It starts with a conversation about where to go, what to do and how an internship fits with a student’s educational plans,” Donnay said. “My role is to help make sure that we are connecting deserving, capable students to these opportunities.”

For Lively, the experience has been invaluable. He has been involved in a variety of different work including serving as a tour guide for visitors, assembling research information and attending policy briefings.

“I thought this would make for a great opportunity to see what a career path on Capitol Hill would look like, as well as immerse myself in the real world of politics,” he said. “There is nothing quite like getting to work alongside the staff members in the office truly affecting policy of our nation. Interning in the Capitol has allowed me to understand the realm of politics better than any textbook ever might.”

Lively says the classroom work he did at BSU during the fall helped prepare him for his internship, and that his experiences in Washington have helped guide him toward courses he now realizes he needs in order to sharpen certain skills he’s asked to use daily. He says his work in Washington has been satisfying, and he encourages other students to consider similar internships – even if they are not political science majors.

“Once here the work is challenging, but nothing different than projects or assignments we typically work on during a semester,” he said. “The work on Capitol Hill isn’t all politics. There are numerous opportunities for internships with organizations and non-profits across D.C. that fit many different majors.”