From the Helm to the Hill
Emily Rose (’09) has always had an interest in politics, but never dreamed she would actually be working in Washington, D.C. But after applying to an internship program while at Bethel, she has now found herself playing an important role in the decision-making processes of the nation.
I had the chance to interview Rose and learn about her exciting career on Capitol Hill.
OJ: What was your major at Bethel?
ER: I double majored in economics and finance and business administration.
OJ: What are you doing now?
ER: I currently work as director of development at the Bill of Rights Institute in Washington D.C. The Bill of Rights Institute is a non-profit organization that works to educate young people about the Constitution and America’s founding principles. As director of development, my responsibility is to build relationships with grant-making foundations and high-dollar individual donors. Basically, I work to find ways to advance the philanthropic goals of my donors while also advancing my organization’s mission.
OJ: How exciting! Do you enjoy this job?
ER: Things are going well! I’m getting to do quite a bit of traveling and am meeting with a lot of really successful, generous people. I never thought that I would want to work in fundraising, but it’s turned out to be a rewarding position.
OJ: How did you become interested in working in Washington, D.C.?
ER: I applied on a whim to an internship program at the United States Department of Labor, and ended up getting the job. During this internship as well as a later internship on Capitol Hill, I found that a political science degree wasn’t really necessary. I was able to gain the skills I needed, such as research and writing, in my economics and business classes.
OJ: Was this your only internship?
ER: I had two separate internships in Washington, D.C. The first was at the U.S. Department of Labor and the second was in a congressman’s office on Capitol Hill. I had an amazing experience at both internships. I was given the opportunity to attend congressional hearings, briefings and markups as well as meet several members of the administration.
OJ: What has been the best part of your experience so far?
ER: I would say one of the best parts is all of the unique experiences I’ve had since coming to D.C. I’ve been able to watch landmark legislation be passed, attend White House ceremonies and meet highly influential individuals. Also, D.C. is a city of young professionals. It has been a lot of fun meeting other young people who share the same interests and passions as me.
OJ: Any challenges?
ER: I would say the greatest challenge is the constant reminder that we live in a broken world that is often complex, frustrating and discouraging. Living in the city can feel like living in a rat race where no one can get ahead and no one knows what the end goal is.
OJ: How do you respond to this as a Christian?
ER: As a Christian, I feel called to not throw my hands up in the air and simply give up on the world. Rather, I feel it is my calling to look at the world with all of its imperfections and brokenness and still choose to take up responsibility. I live with the constant hope that the work I am doing will help the world to become a little more merciful, or a little more just.
OJ: How did think your experience at Bethel College prepared you for this position?
ER: Both my classes at Bethel and the extracurricular activities I was involved in helped me gain the knowledge and skills I need and Bethel’s business department even helped prepare me for the small professional skills I’ve needed, like proper etiquette for a formal dinner.
OJ: Were there any people that encouraged you to go for D.C.?
EM: Two of my professors, Dr. Pete McCown and Dr. Aaron Schavey, encouraged me to apply for internships in D.C. In fact, they not only encouraged me to apply, but were more than willing to take time out of their busy schedules to edit drafts of my resume and cover letter, write letters of recommendation for me, and help me seek out opportunities. Dr. McCown even gave up his office for an hour so I would have a quiet place to conduct a phone interview.
OJ: Do you have any future plans?
EM: I would like to go on to get a higher (graduate) degree in economics and ultimately work as a policy adviser, either at a nonprofit policy group, Congress or a future administration.