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WIU junior political science major Joi Wells is pictured with U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush, of Illinois.
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Wells Interning on Capitol Hill with WIU in DC Program

October 16, 2015

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's WIU in DC program has its third intern working and learning at the nation's capital.

WIU junior political science major Joi Wells (Chicago, IL) began the Fall 2015 semester as an intern for U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush, of Illinois.

"It has definitely been an amazing experience so far – I have been sitting in on the Congressman's subcommittees, recently sitting in on Medicare legislative hearings and Congressional Black Caucus forums - and simply living so close to the Capitol and numerous historical monuments is a fortunate opportunity," said Wells.

While in Washington, D.C., Wells also had the opportunity to see the recent arrival of Pope Francis, and listened to him speak on the West Lawn of the Capitol.

While working for Representative Rush, Wells has been keeping a journal of her activities, shadowing the congressman, and working with his legislative and administrative staff.

Wells sees a direct connection between the internship experience and her career path.

"The value of interning in a Congressional office is that it gives students the experience of living, studying and exploring on Capitol Hill, the heart of Washington, D.C.," said Wells. "The essential value of the internship experience is that you get a true understanding for yourself of what is it like to work in an office, justify your education path and potentially fall in love with your future career. Students have the possibility to have fun doing what they love while progressing academically."

As Director of Public Leadership and Outreach, Political Science Professor Janna Deitz created the WIU in DC Program. The first intern was placed in Fall 2014. The new program provides students, with any academic interest, an opportunity to work in congressional offices, federal government agencies, political organizations or professional associations for a full semester with academic credit.

"Students in LEJA, economics, RPTA and social work are also expressing interest in the program. Federal public policy connects with such a vast array of academic backgrounds; this opportunity fits well with virtually all WIU majors," says Deitz.

Prior to developing the program, Deitz served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

For more information about the WIU in DC program, visit or email Deitz at

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