University News

Two WIU Students Chosen for Prestigious Political Science Opportunity

May 4, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University political science majors are among 20 college students statewide chosen for the NEW Leadership Illinois program this summer.

Senior Madeline Heinzer, of Sugar Grove, IL, and sophomore Margarita Sotelo, of Cicero, IL, were each chosen for the program, which teaches college women about politics and encourages them to become leaders in the political arena. The target areas of the program are leadership education, political savvy and policy skills.

Women leaders from Illinois serve as mentors for the one-week program, sponsored by the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Henizer, who is pursuing a double major in foreign languages and cultures, said she was encouraged by a professor to apply for the program.

"Throughout the week, we will learn about various aspects of the political process with knowledge and guidance from experienced officials and alumni from the program," said Henizer. "My experiences at Western, through student government and the political science department, helped prepare me for this program. I'm excited for this opportunity and the information I will be able to bring back to Macomb. 

Sotelo said she was also encouraged by a professor to apply for the opportunity, which she hopes will add to her education about becoming a strong leader.

"I will learn about serving public office, obtain policy skills and gain new leadership skills, all through active engagement," said Sotelo. "I will get to work with Illinois women legislators and other women leaders in order to gain knowledge in the political area. It is an honor to be one of the select few to be offered a position in this program. This is such a great opportunity for me to learn and grow as an individual and further enhance my political aspirations. I was able to gain some leadership experience and learn about opportunities like this through WIU. My professors have encouraged me to apply for opportunities like this, and a few of the organizations here like Inter-Hall Council, Hall Government and the Student Government Association have further sparked my interest in politics."

For more information on the summer program, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing