David Wichlinski ’11 – Upon my arrival at Wabash, I was introduced to the many pillars which support the framework of a Wabash education. I constantly heard rumblings of an extensive and generous network of Wabash alumni who were very keen in looking after the next generation of Wabash men.
After a summer spent working in the prestigious Fellowship Program of Todd Rokita ’92, Indiana’s Secretary of State, I can now attest to the insurmountable level of knowledge, leadership, and kindness alumni can potentially provide and the value of spending my summer engaging in career-cultivating activities.
The Fellowship Program itself is predicated upon giving 5 undergrad students from around Indiana the opportunity to experience the plethora of responsibilities that are bestowed upon Indiana’s Secretary of State. Many constituents in Indiana are unaware of the diverse divisions which are under the leadership of Secretary Rokita, ranging from the Business Services to Elections to Car Dealership Services.
The agenda for the summer consists of nearly 3 months of rotating around five interwoven divisions which operate under the Secretary of State. Spending time in each department allows us interns to engage in the day to day activities that each individual division partakes in. An environment such as this translates into a unique and enriching educational experience each day, without many of the mundane activities which are stereotypical of an internship position. My experiences as a Fellow have ranged from performing constituent services in the Statehouse office to sitting in on a meeting with Secretary Rokita and the Chicago Chinese consulate.
Furthermore, I am greatly extending my network of communication by establishing relationships with those from which I am learning. I have already had the honor of being able to meet with such dignified officials as Supreme Court Chief Justice Shepard, Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, and Attorney General Greg Zoeller, among others. These closed-door meetings have been just as enlightening as I would expect them to be.
Working alongside the dedicated employees of each division ensures me personal contact with those who provide tremendously valuable insight and comprehension. We were even given what you might deem “front-row seats” to the budget crisis that took place within the General Assembly, which received approval just hours before a government shutdown was to occur. Fortunately, legislatures were able to come to an agreement before the Fellowship Program was disrupted, as failure to pass a budget would have resulted in 33,000 government employees, including myself, to be furloughed.
Tangible and intangible benefits aside, I cannot overlook Wabash’s multidimensional contribution to this summer internship. From the aforementioned alumni basis to the Coons Public Intern Grant which I received to defer the costs of living in Indianapolis, I am evolving as a Wabash man and citizen in ways which cannot be captured with words. Simply enough, these feelings of distinction and pride completely overtake me as I walk through the breathtaking Capitol building at the end of each work day, contently listening to the echo of my dress shoes on marble floors and reflecting upon the value of what I had accomplished that day.
In Photos, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita ’92, Wichlinski (in purple tie), and fellow intern Pete Hewitt ’10.