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Three Monmouth College graduates eyeing possible political careers

Melissa Lindsay
A week after receiving their diplomas, three Monmouth College graduates are eagerly anticipating internships in the field of politics.

Rachel Bold, a communication and international studies major from Mount Morris, and Sean MacWilliams, a classics and history major from Charleston, will both participate in the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program (ILSIP) in Springfield. Claudia Gomez, a Spanish major from Chicago, will spend the summer working for the reelection campaign of Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill.

“I’ll be working for the Senate Republican staff,” said Bold, who also had a double minor in political science and sociology/anthropology. “Once I complete training, I’ll be doing all of the work of a regular, full-time staff member,” she added. MacWilliams, who will be working for the Democratic staff in the House of Representatives, noted, “I want to be a politician and this is an excellent learning experience.”

Bold’s ambitions are to enter a political career as well. “I picked this field because it was the easy choice,” she said. “I once heard a professor speak and they said that sometimes the right choice is the easiest one, and what we’re meant to do is so obvious we overlook it.” Bold hopes to make politics her lifelong career, and while she hasn’t chosen a specific door to enter, she enjoys the variety of opportunities.

The ILSIP provides a place for college students and recent graduates to participate in and experience the political world. There are only 24 interns hired per year, and ILSIP graduates earn credit at the University of Illinois Springfield for their work. After completing the program, many interns continue to work in state politics, while others gain employment at different levels of government, attend law school, or pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Gomez will use her fluency in Spanish to help Rep. Hare reach out to Latino voters in Dist. 17, which includes Rock Island, Quincy and part of Springfield. “I am excited to work with the community, to share my knowledge, and to help the Latino community understand the importance of being represented,” she said. Gomez had her first interning experience with Humboldt Park Social Services in 2009, and that experience opened her eyes to the needs of the community and the field of politics. During the past year, she switched her focus to working with the Latino community of Monmouth. “I have gained a big interest in politics because it plays a critical role in life,” she added.

Bold and MacWilliams will start their internships in August, with a move to Springfield for 10 months. Gomez’s internship will start in June. All three graduated from Monmouth College on May 16.