Major: Political Science
CFS Program: Field Studies in Civic Engagement
Employer: Office of the 43rd Ward for Alderman Michele Smith
This Fall, I was granted the opportunity to work at the Office of the 43rd Ward for Alderman Michele Smith, who serves the Lincoln Park, Old Town, and Gold Coast area. During my time at the office, I was given a chance to engage with my city in a way I would not have otherwise. From 9am-5pm two days out of the week, I answered constituent phone calls, sold parking passes, and even got the opportunity to work on special projects with the Ward. In each scenario, I intended to represent the Ward and the Alderman in the best way I could. The skills that I learned from this internship will serve me extraordinarily well in my dream of becoming a political speechwriter.
My time with the Ward has made me a more effective and quick-thinking problem solver, and has made me more enamored with local politics. Through the several phone calls I answered everyday, I learned more and more about the area’s constituency and the necessity of aldermanic offices. Serving as civic gears to the city, aldermanic offices have the responsibility to keep their respective neighborhoods running smoothly, whether it be through sanitation regulation, community outreach, or helping new small businesses set up in the area. I am extremely grateful to have been able to personally engage with the process of keeping a neighborhood running smoothly, and overall, I feel like the experience has further diversified my view of politics. On a similar note, I have always wanted to explore the North side of Chicago during my time at Northwestern (since I was born and raised on the South side for most of my life) and for the past two years, I have not had much time to do so. Going back and forth between Evanston and Lincoln Park biweekly has thus exposed me to new and lively neighborhoods that I may not have thought to visit any other time.
Chicago Field Studies has made my junior Fall quarter the best one to date. I absolutely loved my internship, the assistance all the advisors provide, and my civic engagement course. I carefully planned out the other courses I wanted to take in addition to CFS in order to ensure that I would still receive enough credits while getting the most from my internship. In my CFS course specifically, I felt like a lot of the curriculum parallelled very well with the work I was doing with the Ward, and that I felt increasingly more inclined to engage civically at every chance I could get. This program does a phenomenal job at getting students exposed to a very diverse set of internships that can show them opportunities they may have missed before or even giving them inspiration for a future career interest. My internship has made me the most passionate I have ever been to become a speechwriter, and I recommend the program to almost everyone I come in contact with at school.