Barry McNamara  |   Published October 03, 2019

Hadley’s Travels

Hadley Smithhisler gains advocacy experience as intern with National Down Syndrome Society’s National Advocacy & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
  • As a participant in the Fund for American Studies, Hadley Smithhisler ’20 was an intern with National Down Syndrome Society’s National Advocacy & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. She also took an economics class at George Mason University.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Hadley Smithhisler ’20 went from participating a summer program at George Washington’s home to living and working in Washington, D.C.

In between, the accomplished Monmouth College senior enjoyed a semester in France, studying at the Université De Franche Comté in Besançon.

Smithhisler spent the most recent summer as a participant in a program sponsored by the Fund for American Studies, where she was an intern with the National Down Syndrome Society’s National Advocacy & Public Policy Center. The center supports the National Down Syndrome Society’s mission to be the leading human rights organization for individuals with Down syndrome by advocating for federal, state and local policies that help people with Down syndrome across the country.

Smithhisler attended meetings with legislators, advocating for Down syndrome-related laws in such areas as equality, Medicare/Medicaid benefits and organ transplants. She also accompanied employees with Down syndrome on visits to Capitol Hill and used her strong background in French to translate informational flyers.

Along the way, Smithhisler connected with the two individuals who are the first and second registered lobbyists with Down syndrome.

“Awareness is a huge part of what NDSS does,” she said. “There are many who think of those with Down syndrome as fragile, incapable people – just sweet and docile. But they’re incredibly capable people.”

This was the second summer Smithhisler participated in a highly selective summer program. In 2018, she took part in the Mount Vernon Leadership Fellows Program in Fairfax County, Virginia.

A history and French major, Smithhisler plans to attend law school next year, primarily to gain experience for social justice and advocacy work.

“Having a law degree is an incredibly powerful element to have for that type of work,” said Smithhisler, who has twice won the Top Advocate honor at the College’s annual moot court competition.

Another impactful part of her Fund for American Studies program was an economics class she took at George Mason University.

“It was an economics problems and public policy course,” she said. “We took basic microeconomics principles but looked at them through a public policy lens. It was a new way to solve problems and find solutions that we might not have considered.”

With her full plate of off-campus experiences, Smithhisler clearly adjusts well to new surroundings. Still, she appreciated that her Monmouth roommate, Kasha Appleton ’20 of Chicago, was nearby during the summer. Appleton had an internship at the Smithsonian Institute.

“We were just two Metro stops apart,” said Smithhisler. “We had a great time.”

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Preparation</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p><strong>Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Pi Beta Phi, the first such collegiate women’s organization, was founded at Monmouth in 1867. It was followed three years later by Kappa Kappa Gamma. The two pioneering organizations today boast a total of 275 active chapters nationwide.</strong></p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>