Aug. 2, 2013
The Washington Monument; the Jefferson, Lincoln, and Vietnam memorials; the Smithsonian Museums; the Capitol and the White House—if you’ve been to our nation’s capital there’s a good chance you’ve seen these familiar places once or twice.
If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C., I’m telling you it’s awfully hard not to feel inspired and proud of our country while wandering around the traditional tourist sites.
For me, that pride was amplified when, as a 22-year-old, I got my first professional job working in a U.S. Senator’s district office in Michigan. I spent six exhilarating years working for him and then five more after that working for a U.S. Representative. Even though I didn’t physically work in Washington, I loved being part of a congressional staff. I loved doing public service, helping constituents, contributing to policy and making a difference. Things like long hours, low pay, little job security, large caseloads, angry people and other frustrations never overshadowed the feeling that I was part of something important.
I guess I’m truly a Spartan. I think part of being a Spartan is a dedication to public service—to making this country and the world a better place. To stepping up and serving when asked and not thinking twice.
And Washington has noticed.
Our military ranks are filled with Spartans. Spartans like alumnus Maj. Kent Vince, featured in today’s Glimpse. Vince treats U.S. military dogs at a facility in Frankfurt, Germany. (Look for more on Vince in an upcoming MSUToday feature).
And it’s not just alumni. Faculty and researchers from MSU have been tapped to serve the U.S. in some pretty important ways. Like Lisa Cook, associate professor of economics, who served on the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. Or Steven Wildman, professor of telecommunication information studies and media, who in February became chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission. You can read about them and others in a great MSUToday feature, Knowledge for the Nation.
In the feature, you can also read about Jim Pivarnik, professor of kinesiology and a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition’s Science Board. Pivarnik, a renowned leader in the field of fitness, shares his personal insights in his Faculty Voice.
The willingness and desire to serve our country can be found among MSU students too. Students like College of Veterinary Medicine student Chelsea Render, also in the feature, who was asked to join a Senate staff to help write the farm bill as a result of an MSU summer fellowship.
Or Kate Rhodes, an RCAH senior interning at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Or Jacob Santangelo, a senior majoring in political science and prelaw who’s spending his summer interning at the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Make sure to check out their student views—our students are pretty awesome.
There are some days when I miss being part of Congressional work, (not so much the angry calls). But this proud Spartan knows that I’m still part of something important for our country. I know that what’s instilled here is an expectation to serve, to give, to make a difference. And when that call comes from hallowed halls in our nation’s capital, there’s always a Spartan ready to step up and say, “I will.”
Photo of flag at Hannah Administration Building by Derrick L. Turner