Success Stories

Student Senator on Capitol Hill

Joy Whitt

When Joy Whitt was a student at Grand Valley State University, she served on Student Senate to be an active part of the university community. Now, Whitt is serving on a larger stage in her job as a legislative staff assistant to U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek).
   
Whitt's duties include ensuring the overall upkeep and professionalism of the front office; constituent services, such as booking Capitol and White House tours for visitors from the district; and coordinating the Washington office's interns.
   
Whitt believes the best part of the experience is her ability to see the inner-workings of politics on Capitol Hill, while maintaining contact with constituents back in Michigan, including friends and family from her hometown, Battle Creek.
   
“It's comforting to know that I can actually make a difference in their lives from afar,” Whitt said.
   
She hopes to gain experience in constituent services and maintain a great relationship with Rep. Mark Schauer and his staff members.  In the future, Whitt aspires to becoming a chief of staff for a member of Congress, working in the Executive branch, or even running for office someday.
   
Whitt was not interested in politics until she joined Grand Valley Student Senate her freshman year. She went to Washington that year to lobby for higher education funding. “Even though it was my first time in D.C., I can remember thinking, ‘This is definitely where I want to live and work someday,’” Whitt said.
   
Being on Student Senate helped Whitt to understand the inner-workings of government — mainly the amount of work that goes on within committees before items are voted on by the Senate as a whole. She said her experience on the Student Senate was invaluable.
   
“I'm interested in the U.S. government for the same reason I was initially interested in student government — I wanted to be a part of the change that I wanted to see in my community. I would never feel right sitting back and complaining about the state of our society, knowing I could do something to change it for the better,” she said.

by Abby Hartig

This story was filed with the tags: Politics, Undergraduate Alumni