From Indiana to D.C – Creating Change on Capitol Hill

Ever dreamed of making the world a better place? In our constantly changing landscape, there are plenty of opportunities to make a positive difference. But Honors College junior Amanda Warnock couldn’t stop herself at just one. From combating local sex trafficking and hunger, to supporting immigrants and refugees, to racial justice efforts, to adaptive inclusion programs, the Political Science and Developmental Family Science double major has already made great strides to make the Lafayette and global community a better place.

Amanda credits her passion for improving access to services and protection for vulnerable communities as the driving force behind her selection of majors as well as her work outside of the classroom. Since Amanda’s exploits are numerous enough to fill a small novel, this piece focuses on the Immigration/Refugee Program Policy and Advocacy Internship for Church World Service, or CWS.

CWS is a major refugee resettlement agency in Washington D.C that utilizes partnerships with organizations all over the country to help push for expansions in rights and protections for refugees and to improve the immigration process. Amanda first took notice of CWS while doing a substantial amount of reading on the Syrian refugee crisis. Not only was CWS leadership often quoted in these articles, but the organization was also included in resources that Amanda’s church offered on the crisis. But how did this simple discovery lead to an internship role? Amanda says it was actually quite easy. “I wound up finding the internship posting while reading the website to get more information, and the process was pretty fast – I applied in February and secured the position in early March.”

While on the job, Amanda had a variety of roles. From reading and reporting on proposed bills, to drafting congressional voting recommendations, to lobbying on the Hill, Amanda’s job took her all over D.C. She also attended congressional hearings and briefings as well as other lectures and events on a regular basis. Amanda says her favorite part of the experience was simply the daily opportunities to learn and absorb new information. In addition to the job requirements previously listed, Amanda also worked closely with grassroots efforts, which involved coalition work, interfaith organizing, utilizing the media and marshaling rallies and protests outside the White House and the Capitol Building.

Amanda also reflected on the internship as a whole. “I had a really incredible experience in D.C. The internship was such a growing experience and I enjoyed getting to work in a wide variety of areas,” stated Amanda. “Every day was different. One of the most impactful parts of the experience was participating in rallies and protests. It was quite moving for me to see people from many different backgrounds and belief systems join together to fight for rights and protections.”

After this semester ends, Amanda will be traveling to India with the Honors College for a Maymester trip on globalization and labor. And while her post-graduation plans are still uncertain, she intends to use the insights she gained from her CWS internship to inform future career decisions. Whether that takes her to law school, back to Washington D.C., or both, she will continue to do incredible work to make our world a better place!