Our Students in Olympia

This quarter, four UW Tacoma students have been hard at work in our state’s Capitol. Andy Brown, Monica Cysensky, and Barbie Weaver are participating in the Washington State Legislative Internship program, and Adán Espino, Jr. is UW Tacoma’s student lobbyist in Olympia. As the quarter draws to a close, we’re checking in with these students to learn about their experiences so far.

Andy Brown, a Law and Policy major, is working for Senator Steve O’Ban, Legislative District #28.

Andy Brown, pictured at the Supreme Court Bench.

Andy says, “This experience has given me an entirely new outlook on what it takes to enact new legislation and be a part of the Washington State Legislature. It is a very fast paced and exhilarating job. Meeting people that have offered to act as mentors, advisors and that were simply willing to assist me in my pursuit of a career in law was more than I could have ever expected. I can honestly say that applying for and accepting this internship is one of the best decisions I have made. This internship has definitely given me the tools and connections to prepare me for success!”

Monica Cysensky and Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court Mary E. Fairhurst.

Monica Cysensky, a Communications major and Politics minor, is working in the Senate Republican Communications office.

Monica says, “My time working at the legislature has been amazing. I’ve written numerous resolutions that are read on the senate floor (more than any other Communications intern, I’m told)). I also get to work closely with those who write for the senators. One of the highlights for me was getting to work closely on projects with them and them actually asking for my opinion, considering their knowledge and time at the legislature. I have gotten a ton of practical writing experience since I write at least five press releases a week. Everyone I work with is so down to earth and just authentically awesome, its been an honor working where I do. I hope to continue working at the Capitol in some capacity after I graduate. It’s just such an amazing opportunity and the people I get to work with everyday are truly inspiring.”

Barbie Weaver, a Criminal Justice major and Law and Policy minor, is working for Senator Tim Sheldon, Legislative District #35.

Barbie Weaver and her daughters, Breanna and Lahai’la, pictured with Senator Tim Sheldon.

Barbie says, “Interning with our State Legislators has really been one of the best learning opportunities I have ever had. Not only do I have the opportunity to work with an amazing Senator and office, I got the privilege of working with my district’s Senator, Senator Tim Sheldon. During session I worked on a variety of different tasks  – writing constituent responses, researching and bill tracking, writing budget requests, sitting in on meetings, attending committee hearings, paging the Senate floor, assisting in drafting a Senate Bill – the list goes on! Working on legislature that related back to my district made my work here that much more personal. In short, I feel cheated that it’s a short session!”

Adán Espino, Jr., ’19, is a Politics, Philosophy, & Economics major (International Studies track) and Urban Studies minor.  Adán is the Legislative Liaison (also known as student lobbyist) for the Associated Students of UWT (ASUWT).

Adán Espino, Jr.

Adán says, “My experience lobbying for higher education needs has been simply astounding. The people I’ve been able to meet, the places I’ve been able to go, and the conversations I’ve had make it all worth it, and that’s on top of the legislation I can help get passed. The biggest thing I would I say I really learned is that the legislator does truly great work and has a lot of influence on our lives, in which anyone of us as residents of WA can participate through public hearing, meetings, or advocacy. Federal politics is important, of course, but on the state level there is potential to really make moves to advance legislation one would find extremely difficult. And that’s not because the legislature is liberal, there is bipartisanship for a lot of bills especially in higher education. In all, it makes me more eager to work towards getting a job as a staffer or bureaucrat, and maybe even as an elected official. Only time will tell, but I am very anxious to continue being a part of the great democratic machine of WA.”