It was only after Bridget Underhill, ’15, went to Washington that she realized she wanted to become a Foreign Service Officer. “The GV in DC program opened up my eyes to that entire career area,” she says. “I had no idea that being someone who loves to travel and loves international politics and is impassioned about working internationally would lead to a career opportunity.”
Bridget is a political science major who participated in the GV in DC program during the winter semester of 2014. Grand Valley State University has recently established the GV in DC Endowed Scholarship to help Grand Valley students study in Washington, DC. The program is run as a partnership with The Washington Center, and gives students unique opportunities to work in professional environments and connect with experts and fellow students to build valuable networks that last.
Unfortunately, the expense of the program limits the number of students who can take advantage of this opportunity. Grand Valley students have to pay their regular tuition, plus up to $2,000 in living expenses. Private funds are essential to enable students to have this once in a lifetime experience.
Programs such as the GV in DC program are highly valuable to students who are facing a daunting job market. “I know a lot of students my age that are working extremely hard at Grand Valley to become knowledgeable on their specific expertise or area of interest,” Bridget says. “But you need the tools that programs like GV in DC offer to be able to take that academic experience and to transform it into your professional career.”
In addition to working as an investigator at the Public Defender’s Office, Bridget enjoyed her classroom experiences. “It was extremely exciting!” She says. “My professor would come over from the White House to work with us in the evening. The other students were brilliant. They were from all different areas nationally and internationally. It was a really good experience.”
Bridget’s participation in the GV in DC program has opened up new possibilities for her life and career. She is extremely grateful that she had the opportunity to go. “I was able to work with so many individuals that have great leadership skills,” she says. “I was able to transform my personal growth, my civic responsibility, and most importantly, my leadership skills. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.”