Intern Insights: Winter 2018 (1 of 2)

This quarter, PPPA students have been hard at work in the community through their internship placements. In this first of two posts, we share updates from four of our interns.

Lily Wong, pictured with Congressman Denny Heck.

Lily Wong
Major: Law and Policy, Human Rights minor
Placement: Office of Congressman Denny Heck

“I’m really enjoying the internship. Continue reading

PP&E Student Espino Cited in Seattle Times Article

About 40 percent of UWT students receive need-based grants from the State. That fact comes to us from PP&E major Adán Espino Jr.   Last week, Seattle Times reporter Katherine Long interviewed Espino, then cited him in her article on proposals under consideration by state legislators to increase funding for the state’s need-based grant program. If passed, one proposal would turn this grant program for college students — which is currently underfunded — into an entitlement program, so that all students eligible for aid would receive it. Currently, only 70,000 out of the 90,000 students in the state eligible for a grant, receive one.

Espino is the UWT’s legislative liaison this year; he’s been spending the quarter in Olympia representing UWT students during this year’s legislative session.  The student lobbyists have all been pushing hard for fully funding the state’s need based grant program. That effort seems to be paying off!

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 Continue reading

Our Alums Staff Legislators’ Offices

UWT grads are increasingly walking the halls of the state capitol!  This year, three former students are employed as Legislative Assistants for members of the legislature.  All three got their feet wet in state politics through their participation in our internship courses. Anna Nepomuceno (far left) is the LA for Rep. Jake Fey (D-27th District).  Anna graduated last year with a major in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Derek Zable (second from left), is the LA for Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45th District).  He graduated five years ago, and also majored in PP&E.  Nick Russell (far right) works in Sen. Hans Zeiger (R-25th District). He too was a PP&E major, and graduated three years ago. Last month the three alums met with our current interns in the state legislature.  Shown here are Barbie Weaver (center) and Andy Brown (second from right).  Not shown are interns Adan Espino and Monica Cysensky.

Farewell to Our Graduating Seniors: Shonda Singleton

“I’ve come a long way,” reflects graduating senior Shonda Singleton (left). Indeed she has.

Shonda is one of eight Law and Policy students graduating this quarter. Like many of our graduates, Shonda aspires to law school, and next year she plans to take the LSAT.

But graduating from college has not been easy.  Shonda was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and at the age of 13 was pregnant.  Before finishing sixth grade, she had dropped out of school and never returned.  As an adult, Shonda eventually left Louisiana and followed family members settling in the South Puget Sound area.  “Monroe had turned into a ghost town,” she explains. “There was nothing there to do. No jobs, no opportunity.”  Eventually Shonda wound up at Tacoma Community College, and after three years achieved her dream of obtaining her GED. With encouragement from TCC faculty, Shonda soon enrolled in college, and in 2014 completed her AA degree at TCC.  Two years ago she arrived on our campus. Continue reading

Alum Lester Burkes Moderates City Club Event

On Nov 1st, Lester Burkes (PPE, ’14) moderated a forum on Community Policing sponsored by City Club of Tacoma.  Community Policing brings police and citizens together to prevent crime and solves neighborhood problems. Panelists included Sue Rahr (former King County Sheriff), Rev. Gregory Christopher (Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and current President of the Tacoma branch of the NAACP), Don Ramsdell (Tacoma Chief of Police), and Marcus Rogers (Project Peace Executive Board and Tacoma Police Representative).

Sue Rahr (left), Don Ramsdell (c) and Lester Burkes (r).

Continue reading

Spring interns served the legal profession

Bethany Johnson

This spring, four Law and Policy students interned with different parts of our criminal justice system. Each provided valuable services while also gaining first-hand experience.  Both Bethany Johnson and Margarita Varaksa interned with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office; Margarita worked in Pierce County’s Juvenile Court while Bethany was in its Property Crimes division.  Amy Magnuson worked down south with the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office.  Among other things, Amy filed petitions and notices of hearings, prepared Orders of Non Compliance and Bench Warrants, handled discovery, and logged trial exhibits.  Kanani Palafox worked for Pierce County’s Department of Assigned Council.  Kanani found her internship to be provocative. Reflectin

Margarita Varaksa (right)

g on her experiences, she commented: “I often sit with alleged criminals, and find myself wondering about their lives. How did they get here? What circumstances in their lives led them to being incarcerated? How are their families affected by their choices?  And some moments at work strike a chord with me, and I realize it is what I want to do as a career. Being an advocate and a voice for justice is something I continue to be passion about.”

Kanani Palafox

All four students met their major’s capstone requirement by writing a substantial policy paper corresponding with their weekly internship obligations. Their supervisors were all thrilled with the extra support the four provided to each of their offices.  “She’s a keeper!” said Amy’s supervisor Wendy Ireland.  “As good as any of our paralegals.”

Teaching in China: Spotlight on Ian Clogston

After graduating from UWT in 2016 with a major in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and another in History, Ian Clogston wondered what was next. Graduate school? But in what?  Work?  He wound up applying to a job in China teaching English to college students.  Now at Wuyi University in Jiangmen, Guangdong Provence, Ian talks about his experiences below:

It is one thing to know about language barriers, it’s another thing to actually experience it yourself. It is a lot more difficult to communicate with people in another language than you would think. It is also more difficult to communicate with people who already speak some English, which I found to be surprising. It turns out we use a lot more cultural references and idioms in our language everyday than we realize.  Continue reading

Students Intern Around Our Community This Winter Quarter

Four PPPA students undertook internship this winter to fulfill their major’s capstone requirement. Stepan Abramov, a senior Law and Policy student, interned with the Tacoma Housing Authority.  “As a intern with THA, I learned first hand how dependent many residents are on government funding. The smallest change in policy can create serious consequences in the lives of thousands.”  Stepan wrote a paper examining inclusionary zoning policies. Maria Reyes is about to graduate with a degree in Law and Policy.  She interned with the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office, one she called “the best experience. It made me figure out what type of law I want to practice”.  Maria’s paper examined the legal history of indigents’ right to counsel.  Anna Nepomuceno is majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and spent the winter quarter working in Olympia with the Washington Student Association, 

Maria Reyes

a lobbying organization for institutions of higher education.  Her paper examined the shortcomings in higher ed policy for the growing population of non-traditional students.   Ruddy Salas is also in his senior year, majoring in Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies.  He spent his winter quarter with the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel.  His paper investigated the history of mass incarceration in the U.S., and the effect policy reform in Washington has had on incarceration rates. Congratulations to all!

UWT Students Spend Winter Quarter Working for State Legislature

Seven UWT students are spending this winter quarter interning with the State Legislature. These UWT students were among 70 selected for this annual internship opportunity for students attending Washington colleges. Those selected are paid and earn credit while gaining a first-hand up-close look at the legislative process.  All interns work full time alongside legislators and their staff to learn about public policy.  The internship also builds students’ professional skills as they serve the citizens of Washington State.

DeAnn Dillon, a senior majoring in Ethnic Gender and Labor studies, interns with Senator John McCoy.
Madison Edmiston, a senior Arts Media and Communication major, works for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Zach Fish (senior, Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE)), is a Session Aid for Senator Doug Erickson.  Amy Welch, another PPE senior, interns for Sen.Joe Fain. Malisa Wei splits her time between Sen. Reuven Carlyle and Sen. Steve Conway, and is graduating this winter in PPE. Chris Johnson studies Law and Policy, and is interning with Rep. Sherry Appleton and Rep. John Lovick. Finally, Jessi Williams (senior in  Law and Policy) works in the offices of Rep. David Sawyer and Rep. Eileen Cody.  Amy Welch sums up her own experience this way: “This internship has brought both challenges and rewards. I’ve learned how laws are made, what influences the process, and how hard our elected officials work. It’s inspired me to do work that matters and to think of others before myself.

Applications for next year’s Legislative Internship Program are due in October 2017.