Senior Spotlight: Olivia Anderson

by Maddie Travis, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Senior Olivia Anderson plans to further her political education through the Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, D.C.

Anderson said students who receive the Culver Fellow Scholarship as freshman are guaranteed candidates for CHIP. These students spend their years at Simpson as fellows at the John C. Culver Center for Public Policy.

“This is something I knew I wanted to do since my first year at Simpson,” Anderson said. “It was just a matter of strategically planning when I could do this in terms of finishing all of my classes and what would be best for my professional career.”

Anderson is also a member of Pi Beta Phi, a Vote Everywhere Ambassador with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, part of the speech and debate team and the former president for Simpson College Democrats.

She is also pursuing two majors, political science and applied philosophy, as well as minors in both Spanish and public relations.

This will not be the only time Anderson has studied off campus through Simpson. During the second semester of her sophomore year, she studied in Rosario, Argentina.

While in D.C., Anderson will be taking an unconventional route when it comes to studies. She plans to finish her minor while actively participating in CHIP.

“Typically, whenever you do the Capitol Hill Internship Program, you take one elective class, which is typically a comparative politics class. You also have a reflection course,” Anderson said. “I don’t need to do the elective course since I’ve already done that. Instead, I’m doing a philosophy course online.”

Although she has an idea where she would like to intern while in D.C., Anderson said nothing is set in stone yet.

“Currently I work at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, or USCRI,” Anderson said. “They have offices in almost every state; however, their headquarters are in D.C. I’m looking at their child legal services internship which works with mainly undocumented, unaccompanied minors, helping them with their citizenship paperwork as well as basic language.”

This is not the only internship Anderson is interested in.

“There’s one with the Brennan Center for Justice, which is part of the NYU School of Law. It’s this nonpartisan think tank, which does a lot of research and advocacy in regards to voting rights and general citizenship,” Anderson said.

While many students are showcased for appearing to “have their life together,” Anderson said she is appreciative of this opportunity for underclassmen to see the real side of senior year. She knows what direction she wants to go, but enjoys showing the process of acquiring internships and all the work that goes into applying.

In applying for internships through Simpson, Anderson was more than willing to give advice.

She’s had a lot of internships because of Simpson, but she said her biggest recommendation is to focus on networking early to maintain relationships throughout the four years.

“So many internships, especially in the field of politics, are unpaid,” Anderson said. “Doing unpaid internships can have benefits. Even if you feel like in the moment you’re not being paid for the time you’re doing, the connections you make and the skills you acquire are really crucial.”

While unpaid internships are beneficial to the student’s experience, Anderson mentioned a unique program she has taken advantage of while at Simpson.

“At least until the end of 2018, we have this grant internship program. If you talk to the Career Development office, the grant will fund a non-paid internship. I’ve used that twice so far, which has made the unpaid internships I’ve worked for even better,” Anderson said.

Because of Simpson’s attention to their students, Anderson has learned valuable lessons through her internships that will last long after her college days are over. She will experience this fact first-hand while studying in Washington, D.C., this upcoming semester.