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Some people learn about what’s going on in the world around them by turning on cable news or scrolling through their Twitter feed. This past summer, Arizona State University political science senior Alexandria “Daisy” Maese took a much different approach through ASU’s Capital Scholars Program.
Like other Sun Devils enrolled in the summer internship program, Maese spent nine weeks in Washington, D.C., earning six upper-division credits while working in our nation’s capital, specifically for an internship with lobbying firm the Madison Group.
The Madison Group gave Maese assignments that not only fostered her professional growth, but gave her a first-person perspective on the subjects she has been studying in her political science and military leadership courses.
“Seeing the topics I was learning about in class become reality was one of the coolest moments I could have imagined,” Maese said.
This tremendous opportunity involved a whole host of responsibilities that educated Maese on the nature of the federal Ggovernment and the working culture of Washington. A lot of these responsibilities were not even on Capitol Hill, as the Madison Group used interns like Maese to create their first political action committee and set up events such as fundraisers for prominent politicians.
For the most part, the Madison Group had Maese taking notes on legislation in congressional committees dealing with everything from the armed forces to space exploration. These powerful committees, which serve as the starting point for the legislative process, gave Maese a front row seat to where America’s international and homeland security policies are created. Though it was a busy time for her, Maese loved every second of it.
“Even when you’re not working a typical 8 to 5 job, work is always in play in D.C., even when you’re not at your desk,” Maese said. “The city takes in a lot of ambitious and driven people. Just seeing that, that is what was the most amazing thing to me.”
Of course, Maese also had to work hard to get her job with the Madison Group. She acknowledges that it was her long-term preparation that allowed her to get to that position.
Beginning with the School of Politics and Global Studies’ two-week Early Start Program, Maese forged and maintained relationships with the same professors that would advise her through the application process. In this program, she also learned how to pursue a career in politics, especially with the undergraduate work that develops a strong work ethic and provides a foundation of knowledge about the way the government works. Additionally, Maese was able to overcome some of the financial obstacles that often prevent students from taking on exciting opportunities like this with the help of financial support from a sponsor.
“I was very thankful knowing that someone was able to sponsor me for that opportunity,” Maese said. ”I don’t think many people know how challenging it is for students to find opportunities like Capital Scholars and for someone who doesn’t really know you personally to sponsor you is amazing.”
Maese has certainly kept busy since coming back from Washington, interning with Global Ties and searching for graduate programs to enroll in after graduating from ASU this spring. While she is excited about all these pursuits, Maese wants to ensure that her career in politics and homeland security benefit the people who have supported her.
“This is something of interest to me and something I want to continue to do. More so because I’ve seen the change, even the smallest contribution can change everything. I want to give back to my community because they backed me up.”