Keller, a senior majoring in cross-cultural studies and Spanish, is working in Olympia through the Washington State Legislative Internship, a highly competitive program for college and university students. The internship allows him to work with state representatives and senators, to learn how a bill becomes a law, to conduct research and to participate in job shadows.
Keller says his favorite part of the internship is working with the legislators.
"It is awesome getting to know them and seeing how they think, how they interact and how they work to better the lives of the people of Washington State," Keller says.
He also says that he now truly understands all of the complexities that go into making a bill become a law.
"This internship experience has been especially rewarding because it has confirmed my interest in working in the legal or political field," Keller says. "I have always wanted to give back to my home community of Tacoma and to my state. By better understanding the legislative process, I can be an effective advocate for my home community and for my country as well."
Keller says the internship also has helped him become more organized and has improved his research and analytical skills. He says he also has become a better writer and more effective communicator, and he has made friends and contacts that will be beneficial to him long after the internship is over.
Keller also has had the opportunity to work with Whitworth alum and State Representative Kevin Parker, '93, and Legislative Assistant Ben Oakley, who also attended Whitworth for a time.
Keller says Whitworth and the Act Six program have contributed greatly to his leadership and critical thinking skills as well as to his social and spiritual development. Through his experience in Act Six, he says that during his internship he was able to shed some light on legislation that could potentially have a negative effect on minorities.
"Act Six and Whitworth have definitely allowed me to take full advantage of this internship," he says.
Giving back to his community is very important to Keller. After graduation he plans to teach at a bilingual elementary school through Teach for America. He then plans on attending law school to become an attorney with the goal of acting as an advocate for his community in Tacoma.
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or firstname.lastname@example.org.