The Dr. James Curry Endowed Scholarship Fund Recipient 2022

August 22, 2022
Meet Omar Islam

Mr. Omar Islam is a junior at Baylor University from Austin, Texas, pursuing a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science with a minor in History. At Baylor, he has been involved in various extracurricular activities and organizations. He is a member of Baylor's Model United Nations team, having won awards at national conferences in D.C. and New York. He has also actively participated in public service around Waco, including raising thousands of dollars towards diabetes research with his service fraternity. In the past year, Mr. Islam has completed internships with a Waco law firm and a Texas state agency. This fall, he is joining Cornerstone Government Affairs, a lobbying firm with specializations in public affairs and business consulting, as a Policy Intern. Upon his graduation next fall, Mr. Islam is interested in obtaining his J.D. and pursuing a career in law.

We are so pleased that Omar is joining us in Washington, D.C. this semester. Below, Omar shared a bit more about his path to Baylor, his goals for the semester in D.C., and his plans for the future. Congratulations, Omar!

1. Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at Baylor.
When I was a senior in high school applying to colleges, I wanted to go somewhere different – a place where I could be challenged and grow in a way that I wouldn’t be able to somewhere else. I found Baylor to be that place, somewhere that was big enough to host an impressive mix of academics, possibilities for engagement, and of course school spirit, yet not so big that I would be lost and forgotten in a massive student body. I entered Baylor as a biology major, but when I found my interests to be in the political realm, there were no shortage of opportunities to be involved in. In my opinion, the Baylor in Washington program is one of the most unique opportunities Baylor has to offer, especially for students who are interested in developing themselves as young professionals.

2. What people or experiences at Baylor best prepared you for this program?
One of the most valuable things I’ve learned at Baylor is how to effectively balance my role as a student with maintaining my commitments out of the classroom – being able to effectively keep up with a busy schedule while allowing for some flexibility to address anything that may come up. I think this has helped me balance the flow between a full-time internship, my classwork, and taking on additional opportunities in Washington.

3. Why did you want to come to D.C. to do this program?
Before I entered the program, I had only visited D.C. a handful of times and was very curious to see what life was like for someone interested in politics and law, such as myself, in the heart of our federal government. I saw that a semester in D.C. would allow me to expand my knowledge of public policy, develop professional experience, and visit countless historical landmarks, so for me a semester in D.C. was an obvious and exciting choice.

4. What has surprised you about D.C. or your experience so far?
The environment and energy in D.C. is completely different than what I am used to in the Texas metros! It seems like there is always something going on and things to do - an afternoon can be spent doing anything from visiting a world-famous Smithsonian Museum to checking out a local burger spot. I find the level of activity, history, and diversity concentrated in such a small area to be amazing and I am interested to see how the city itself will continue to develop in the future as it grows.

5. How do you hope to grow while you’re here?
While I am in D.C., I hope to develop as a young professional immersed in the world of government. At my internship with Cornerstone Government Affairs, a lobbying and consulting firm, I am developing my business communication and research skills in a way that I would not be able to in the classroom. For instance, I am assigned daily memo reports that can range from anything such as a summary of a recent congressional hearing, to a research report on a potential client company. Additionally, I am constantly learning from my coworkers, including both my supervisors and fellow interns, who have all come from many different walks of life and each have valuable perspectives and experiences to share.

6. What are some possibilities for your future that excite you right now?
Something else my semester in Washington, D.C. has taught me is that there are so many different possibilities and paths I can see myself going down! In the short-term, I would like to potentially continue my internship with Cornerstone in the spring and return to D.C. in the summer. I have many ideas as to what I should do after I graduate from Baylor next fall, but am most interested in obtaining my J.D. and pursuing a legal career.
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