Tyler Ward ’22 learning on the job in Washington, D.C.
While summer is a time of leisure for many, a number of Auburn University students and recent graduates are spending their time getting crucial experience via summer internships.
The on-the-job training they are receiving through these opportunities not only is giving them quality experience they can build upon, but also could serve as springboards to long and successful careers. Auburn students are utilizing the summer months to pursue a variety of passions and serve several varying roles at businesses and offices around the country.
Political science alumnus Tyler Ward is making a difference in Washington, D.C., this summer as he gains valuable experience and represents Auburn University.
Ward’s innate desire for helping others and making a difference fueled his passions on the Plains while pursuing an education and shaping his experiences at Auburn.
From his time as a Student Government Association, or SGA, senator for the College of Liberal Arts, or serving as the SGA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion chair, Ward worked to expand representation for marginalized groups on campus during his time on the Plains. Ward—who graduated this spring with a degree in political science—also served as the executive vice president for the Black Student Union and assistant vice president of media operations for the SGA.
He now has embarked on a journey to Washington, D.C., where he is interning for Representative Terri Sewell, who represents Alabama’s 7th District. Ward learned of the internship opportunity through Auburn journalism advisor Letitia Gulley-Smith.
“It was getting down to the wire of me not being sure what I was going to be doing after graduation, so it came at just the right time,” Ward said.
Sewell’s commitment to improving voting rights for all citizens struck a chord with Ward and is a big part of what made him want to work in her office.
“Civil rights and voting rights issues have been huge for me and very instrumental in why I wanted to do politics in general,” Ward said. “Rep. Sewell passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2021, and I thought that not only was a great way to commemorate a leader that I looked up so much to like John Lewis, but also expressed a lot of the same things I felt when it comes to voting rights. She’s big in my district, and it’s been great to see all the work she’s done and implement it toward educational resources.”
Ward is learning all facets of working in a major political office and is enjoying the chance to experience a wide array of duties and responsibilities.
“They really break us up into different phases in the office, and we will do things with speech writing, press releases, a little toward the administrative side of answering the phones and writing constituent letters and even a little toward the legislative side in researching policy, understanding how a bill gets to the floor and who can co-sponsor different things,” said Ward, who traveled to Washington, D.C., in the past with a civil engagement class. “So, looking around to see what areas speak to us the most and then carrying that to the rest of our internship in specific areas. It’s just really, really, really cool.”
The experience Ward is getting in the nation’s capital this summer will be instrumental, he feels, in helping guide the next few years of his academic and professional life.
“It’s a great launching pad,” Ward said. “Even if I don’t want to specifically do this job and work on the Hill, it’ll give me opportunities to do other things too, which is cool to see. I think I want to go back to school at some point and get more education under my belt. This job is really helping me understand what kind of master’s or Ph.Ds I might want to pursue and is giving me a way to see up close the different jobs I’ve heard about to help me see if they’re something I would like or enjoy.”
Ward feels his Auburn experience working in student government and with other organizations, coupled with the instruction he received as a political science major, gave him a great foundation upon which to build.
“Liberal Arts and poly sci specifically really prepared me a lot, whether it’s from the educational stance and being able to experience things as a student, but also in knowing the fundamentals of bills, history and how things work,” Ward said. “Things like SGA and my extracurricular activities really gave me a good landscape of politics in general because learning how to reach across the aisle and gather constituent support are things we talked about a lot that we use every day up here [in D.C.]. So, it’s really cool to see the things we learned [at Auburn] and what we took away from our experiences really do make such a huge, huge impact.”
For more information about the Department of Political Science at Auburn University, visit here.
Tags: Political Science