Stevie Quijas (he/they) is a fourth-year social relations and policy student in James Madison College. Quijas is an emergency medical technician and congressional intern for Rep. Elissa Slotkin and U.S. Senator Gary Peters. Quijas has also served as Michigan State University’s at-large liaison to the Board of Trustees and on the executive board for the North American Indigenous Student Organization, or NAISO. He plans to pursue a master’s of public policy for a career in tribal health and environmental policy.
Interning in the House of Representatives amid so many local, national and international developments has greatly motivated me to pursue a career in public policy. My domestic social relations and policy studies have been bolstered by a crash course in international relations this fall — from Israel-Palestine, Russia-Ukraine, China-Taiwan, immigration crises, UAW strikes, to the removal of the Speaker of the House — I’ve gained insights into so many new areas of policy.
Touring the Pentagon prompted inquiry into the diplomatic career paths available to address these very issues. My political communication skills have also improved immensely through my experiences drafting social media posts, press releases, legislative summaries and co-sponsor recommendations for Congresswoman Slotkin.
I’ve had the opportunity to network with public service professionals at events such as the White House Tribal Youth Forum. I am blessed to be immersed among fellow activists, academics and artists and public officials working to protect and preserve our lands and cultures for the next seven generations.
Walking the halls of an institution which historically did not recognize my ancestors as equal citizens has prompted immense intellectual growth. It motivates me to serve the communities from which I come — the Anishinaabeg, Spartans and Michiganders — and to work toward environmental and racial justice for the next seven generations.
My experiences in Congresswoman Slotkin’s Washington, D.C., office this fall have solidified the foundation of knowledge, skills and relationships I will continue to leverage this spring as I continue to serve the constituents of Senator Gary Peters in Lansing.
Chi-miigwech (thank you) to Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, her team and James Madison College for this life-changing opportunity! I encourage all to apply for a legislative internship!
This story originally appeared on the James Madison College website.