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WIU Associate Professor Janna Deitz has spent nine months in Washington D.C. studying the political process as part of a Congressional Fellowship.
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Deitz Goes to Washington: WIU Professor Spends Nine Months at D.C. Fellowship

April 10, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – A Western Illinois University associate professor is expanding her expertise in political science through study outside the classroom.

Janna Deitz was the recipient of the American Political Science Association's Congressional Fellowship to spend nine months studying politics in the nation's capitol. The program began in November with a month of training and presentations by scholars, journalists, leaders of various interest groups and former members of Congress. Fellows were also able to sit in on the argument phase of a Supreme Court case.

The training period ended with Deitz's participation in the Congressional Research Service's (CRS) Advanced Legislative Institute, which is the training new members of Congress and their staff members complete.

"CRS experts trained us in many aspects of parliamentary procedure and legislative process, with particular attention paid to the distinct culture of each chamber," Deitz said. "From rule making to the amendment process, we covered a great deal of ground in these seminars."

Deitz then moved on to interview with congressional offices for work placement for the balance of the fellowship.

"I am excited to have the opportunity to work in Senator (Dick) Durbin's office, and began work in December with his economic and infrastructure team," Deitz said. "I am learning a lot about transportation and infrastructure issues facing the state and nation. Since both the House and Senate are working on transportation bills, I am able to witness the policymaking process up close as these bills proceed through each chamber."

While in Washington, D.C., Deitz said she's run into numerous former WIU students and alumni including:

• Sam Pfister, '08 - Congressional staffer with Rep. Tim Johnson's office
• Sam Lozier, '07 - Campaign communications, Revolution Messaging
• Bridget Early, '07 - Labor organizer - US Lettercarriers Association
• Blake Antonides, '09 - Analyst, Department of Labor
• Bart Ellefritz, '03, '07 - Staffer, Senator Durbin's Springfield office

Deitz will return to Macomb in August, just in time for the start of the fall semester. Before that, she plans to apply for a travel opportunity to Canada to learn about the Westminster legislative model.

"Having a better comparative perspective on legislatures will also add a great deal to the education I can take home from this experience," Deitz said. "The fellowship has been a true learning experience for me and I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with students when I return."

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