by Emily Wurst

In the midst of tourists, lobbyists and political leaders, University of West Georgia senior Amara McNeish proudly reports to work each day at Georgia’s Capitol. As a legislative intern for the General Assembly of the Georgia House of Representatives, McNeish has found a place where her education, goals and future merge to allow her to explore her passion in politics.

From Campus to the CapitolMcNeish, a philosophy major with a pre-law concentration, is spending her spring semester working alongside politicians and community leaders as a part of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program. She learned about the program through fliers posted on UWG’s campus and immediately knew it would be a perfect fit for her.

“I have always had a deep interest in social justice and wanted to align myself with those who have the same vision of a brighter future for society as I do,” McNeish said.

As an intern, McNeish’s duties include writing bill summaries and preparing and delivering committee meeting notices for both the House and the Senate, and attending meetings to handle matters with constituents on behalf of the representatives. This hands-on experience offers a unique approach to learning that can’t be matched in a classroom.

“Though professors can teach you new things, they are not able to place you on the job in a real-life situation,” McNeish said. “Having an internship gives you insight into the corporate world, which is something that a degree simply cannot show you in itself.”

For McNeish, this internship was the perfect opportunity to mesh her interest in politics with her philosophy major.

“From ethics to political philosophy, politics always incorporates philosophical arguments as foundations of reasoning behind speeches and the passing of laws,” she said. “Overall, majoring in philosophy has allowed me to peer into the minds of others who may think differently than I do, which allows me to have an open mind when I will need to understand the reasoning behind various political parties’ actions.”

From Campus to the CapitolWhile her natural passion drove her to pursue the internship, McNeish credits her coursework at UWG for giving her the tools to prepare her for success in the position.

“My experiences at UWG have definitely prepared me for my internship,” she said. “Constantly reading and writing long papers has caused me to become highly efficient when writing bill summaries. Presenting research and class topics has prepared me to speak publicly with confidence and dignity. My education is allowing me to sharpen my professional skills and become who I want to become.”

McNeish is participating in an independent study with Dr. Rosemary Kellison of UWG’s philosophy department this semester as she prepares for graduation by the end of this year. After graduating with honors, she plans to attend law school for a graduate degree.

“I definitely have an interest in entering politics one day,” said McNeish about her future. “I am deeply interested in seeing a better world, regardless of whether I am wearing a suit and tie or a T-shirt and jeans.”

Posted on March 31, 2017