Alumni Testimonials

Avery Lill

B.A.'16 (University Scholars)

"I spent the summer after I graduated from Baylor University interning with National Public Radio in Washington D.C. It was a dream internship, made better even better by my involvement with Baylor in Washington.

At Baylor I studied philosophy and creative writing in the University Scholars program. I also interned at the NPR member station in Waco for over a year. My summer in Washington D.C. helped me gain the skills, confidence and assurance that journalism is the career I would like to pursue. It prepared me for my current job, a public radio host and reporter in rural Alaska.

In D.C. I lived with a Baylor alumni family who not only welcomed me into their home but into their family. They and the other alumni I met through the Baylor in Washington program became invaluable mentors who helped me navigate D.C. and my search for a permanent job.

Now I live in Dillingham, a small town on Alaska’s Bristol Bay. As one of two reporters for a public radio station that covers an area the size of Ohio, I report on everything, including salmon fishing, dog sledding, crime, hydroponic farming, homelessness, and more. I remain in contact with my mentors from Baylor in Washington D.C., and I know the perspective that summer gave me is one I will carry with me for years to come."

Michelle Riggs

B.A.'16 (Political Science)

"My semester in Washington D.C. was my most transformative semester in college by far. On campus in Waco, there are so many ways to grow and learn alongside your peers and professors. However, leaving campus and venturing out into the real world poses a new kind of challenge. Between working in our nation’s capital and learning in a different scholastic atmosphere, this semester is pleasantly developmental.

I worked for the Office of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) during his bid for the GOP presidential candidate nomination in 2016. Interning on the Hill allowed me to experience how our government really works. I had a front row seat, and even a role, in the creation of legislative priorities and the implementation of an agenda. There was no better way to decide whether government was the right career path for me than interning on the Hill.

During the semester, class was held all over D.C. in places like the Supreme Court, the FEC, and the Newseum. On several occasions throughout the semester, class was held at various think tanks. Through experiences with Brookings Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute, I was made aware of a think tank in New York City: the Manhattan Institute (MI). While still in D.C., I applied for a summer internship at MI and got it. After my summer in NYC, I returned to Baylor, graduated in December, and am now working full time for MI as a marketing associate.

Baylor in DC is a springboard for the rest of your career. Without the hands on experience of working on the Hill or the challenge of studying with professors at American University, I would not have been equipped to attain first an internship then a job with the Manhattan Institute. D.C. is a semester-long, crash-course in the real world, and nothing prepared me more for a career in politics than dipping my toe in the pool with the Baylor in Washington Program."

Gil Ruiz

B.A.'15 (Medical Humanities)

Gil Ruiz studied Medical Humanities at Baylor and originally intended to apply to medical school after graduation. In his last semester, he decided to participate in the Baylor in Washington program and his life changed forever.

During his semester with Baylor in Washington, Gil studied Sustainable Development at American University and interned with AARP. His studies in Medical Humanities and his experience with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health piqued his interest in healthcare policy and more particularly, how it pertains to aging. He had a fantastic experience with AARP as he published two articles in one of their national journals, attended conferences and events with industry leaders, and found a mentor for life.

Gil's mentors, especially his professors at American University, convinced him to pursue an internship on Capitol Hill over other options such as graduate school and other jobs. Gil, uneasy over his lack of familiarity with this new world of policy and advocacy in the capital, trusted his mentor's advice and secured an internship with Senator Gillibrand of New York. He found a job with the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University to fund his living expenses, and four months later was hired as a full time staffer with the Office of US Senator Gillibrand.

Healthcare and aging issues remain of great interest to Gil, but he is also very much concerned with issues pertaining to financial services, education, and conservation. He was invited by his former professor at American University to join the Board of Directors at her nonprofit organization, Engage Globally, dedicated to sustainable solutions to bring education to young girls in Ghana and abroad.

Gil has been enthralled with Washington D.C. since the first week he moved there and would recommend the Baylor in Washington Program to anyone that is at all interested in it. He believes that it has changed his life for the better and does not believe he would be as happy working anywhere else. He has maintained many friendships from the Baylor in Washington program and speaks to his professor from it nearly every day. If you're ever in the DC area, reach out to him!