Alumnus interns in Washington, D.C., while finishing law degree

Mar 14, 2019
Wesley Williams lands law internship in Washington DC

Newman alumnus Wesley Williams is completing his final semester of law school in Washington, D.C.

Williams will graduate with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas (KU) School of Law in May 2019 but first, he is completing an internship with Congress.

Williams looking ecstatic after landing his law internship in Washington DC
Williams posing with a Dwight D. Eisenhower statue

He chose to participate in the KU School of Law’s “Sixth Semester in D.C.” program, which allows students to finalize their degree while working for a government or nonprofit organization. Students are required to simultaneously take two university courses.

Williams searched online for internships and found one as a legal intern for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

“Much of my luck finding this internship comes from experience,” said Williams. His first internship with Congress occurred while he was still a student at Newman University, and Williams was eager to return, he said.

Williams said the rich heritage our nation holds in terms of agriculture is what originally interested him in the committee.

“I came to work for the committee because of my desire to help mold public policy as well as the high level of importance the industry holds, not just in Kansas, but in America as a whole.”

Many of the challenges Williams has faced come from his inexperience with agriculture but he said he’s relying on the skills he learned at Newman, such as the ability to analyze and research, to help him through it.

“The committee recently passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. Much of my work is to look at the provisions of the Farm Bill and to determine some of the effects it has on other pieces of legislation, such as the Appropriations Bill Congress passed last month,” he explained.

“Additionally, I cover hearings and briefings of importance to some of the committee’s staff, do issue research for potential future legislation, and help prepare for hearings before the committee.”

Williams enjoys living in a fast-paced and lively city, he said, but most importantly, he enjoys the work he’s doing with the committee.

“My work is wonderful because I get to analyze policy and legislation — something I have always had a desire for. I get to work with brilliant policymakers and learn from experienced Hill veterans. My coworkers have been nothing but supportive and incredibly helpful in my development as a lawyer,” said Williams.

Williams (right) with two friends at the 2016 Newman University Baccalaureate.
Williams (right) with two friends at the 2016 Newman University Baccalaureate.

His love for public service was fostered at Newman University, he said. “I believe that the sense of community service that is instilled in Newman students is one of the largest factors to my success in Washington. Newman seeks to ’empower graduates to transform society.’ This mission lends itself to preparing students for a career in public service.”

Williams graduated from Newman with a theater degree in 2016, which provided him with communication skills that he now utilizes daily, he said. He added that he will be forever grateful for his time at Newman and all the skills he learned that have helped shape him into a lawyer.