"I have met amazing people, gone to dances, laughed, cheered at basketball games and so much more. I have chosen to embrace as many things on campus as I can while also juggling classes."
Kennedy Birley is a senior political science major at Saint Martin’s University and she came here from her hometown of Molalla, Oregon. She serves as the president of the Saint Martin’s Pre-Law Club. Last year, she held an internship with the Washington state legislature and she took time to answer questions about her internship and her experience at Saint Martin’s.
You had an internship with the Washington legislature last year. What were your responsibilities during the internship?
As an intern in the legislature I worked in the office of Sen. Lisa Wellman. My primary responsibilities were responding to constituent emails, arranging meetings with lobbyists, tracking bills as they went through committee and filing paperwork to be used for future sessions. I was the first face seen by constituents and lobbyists when they came to the office, so it was my job to present a friendly and welcoming face while also acting as gatekeeper to the senator’s office.
What has your experience been like at Saint Martin’s and what have you enjoyed most?
I think like most students, my experience has been chaotic in the best way. It has been three years filled with tests, and studying, and late nights, but also in between naps I have met amazing people, gone to dances, laughed, cheered at basketball games and so much more. I have chosen to embrace as many things on campus as I can while also juggling classes. I have truly enjoyed the classes I have been able to take and the wealth of knowledge I will walk away with when I graduate in May.
Who is the person who has influenced you the most at Saint Martin’s?
On the weekend of Incipio my freshman year I met my best friend. She has been there through the last two years of every curveball I’ve been thrown and every time celebration was needed. She has shown me true strength in being a woman and that not everything has to be done traditionally. When I first moved to Washington I struggled to make friends and meeting my best friend really improved my college experience and helped me branch out to others.
What advice would you give to a new student?
Go to office hours. Office hours are crucial to maintaining high grades and building rapport with professors, especially at such a small school. Professors want to help their students, but it is your own responsibility to seek that help. It will be important to have a reputation with your professors when you start applying to jobs or internships as you will need letters of recommendation and a professor will be much more willing to write you one if they know you are willing to put in the work for your grades and classes.
It sounds like you’ll be a field organizer with the Washington state Democratic party after you graduate. How did you become interested in that role, and what will your responsibilities be in that job?
Yes, I’ll be the southwest Washington field coordinator for the party and I’ll be located in Vancouver, Washington. In this position I will ultimately be organizing both paid staff and volunteers to work in the legislative district to promote the candidate. As a political science major, seeing how the trends and theories we discuss in class act in the real world has always interested me, so being a field organizer seemed like the ideal opportunity to implement my education.