by The College of Education / Sep 23, 2011
Disgruntled with something?
Everyone is from time to time. Some people write a letter; some make a phone call; some complain around the water cooler; most do nothing.
Trevor Eagle, a second-year master’s student studying higher education administration in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, became a bit perplexed when he couldn’t find information about a summer internship on his home state’s web site. So perplexed, the Maumee, Ohio, native will tell you, that he wrote an essay directed to Ohio Governor John Kasich. What ensued gave him the best summer of his life.
The summer of 2011 allowed him to see two of his favorite things: the behind-the-scenes workings of a governor’s office and a mid-summer break to study pedagogical practices in Italy. Mamma mia.
In July, he took a two-week compressed course in Rome through Loyola University. He met with students, faculty, and administrators there and witnessed first-hand the differences between the Italian education system and his homeland’s. That compressed course will come in handy when he writes his thesis on how faculty adapt their pedagogical practices for compressed versus semester-long courses.
And then there’s public policy, state government, and public affairs. Eagle is downright passionate about that arena. So passionate, that his essay to the governor of Ohio landed him a summer internship. Eagle is pictured above (second from the right, back row) with fellow interns, a local teacher, and governor's staff.
After drafting and sending his essay to the governor’s office in Columbus, he received a response within 48 hours. The HR person on the other end of the phone told Eagle, “we have taken suggestions into consideration and we’re very interested in talking with you.” A review of his CV, assorted security measures, and a phone interview later, Eagle was hired for a June/July internship minus his two-week stint in Italy.
One of the things Eagle proposed in his essay was that the governor’s office reach out to the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University to advertise an internship opportunity, and they did just that.
The Buckeye state’s gubernatorial staff was not shy about putting Eagle’s written and oral communication skills to work shortly after he arrived. Along with proposing a permanent summer internship program, he responded to constituent inquires on state policies and was assigned various “public liaison” projects. He also got the chance to sit in on the governor’s education steering committee meeting and work with a local teacher on education policy.
“I’ve always been interested in state government, especially the executive branch,” Eagle said. “And having access to the governor’s office was the opportunity of a lifetime. Being around the governor and his senior staff in the executive office was really priceless.”
Eagle said his summer showed him that “the government truly can make a difference. I got to see all the things that people write in, fax and call about,” he said.
He also applied to and was accepted for a more established governor’s internship program in Indiana, but the blank slate that allowed him to build Ohio’s internship program won him over.
His advice for fellow students wanting to make a difference?
“If you have the energy and the passion to make a sustainable and impactful change, then ‘get into the arena,’” Eagle said, quoting Teddy Roosevelt. “Put yourself into the arena to make an impactful change, and don’t let anyone tell you (that) you can’t do it” he added.
And oh yeah, don’t forget to write a letter.
PHOTO: Trevor Eagle (second from right) with staff and interns of the Ohio state Governor's Office.