Aurora University

Graduate with presidential aspirations reflects on study beyond experience

July 01, 2019


Internships, choir tours, study abroad experiences, and mission trips — all adventures beyond the classroom — give students the opportunity to help others, think on their feet, meet remarkable people, and learn vital skills. All of which will help them in their careers. Political science and business administration graduate Christine Emma-Ann Williams ’19, recently shared her experience participating in an exciting off-campus learning opportunity.

My Study Beyond Story | Christine Emma-Ann Williams ’19

As a freshman, I attended the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The first part of this two-week experience was dedicated to academic writing, lectures from guest speakers, and participating in class discussions on presidential nominations. I interviewed state delegates, governors, constituents, Secret Service agents, and so many more people. During the actual convention, I was a security guard. I met important figures and strengthened my communication skills.

One of the things I am most proud of was when a reporter from WGN News reached out to me to conduct an interview that was broadcast worldwide. During the interview, I was able to be a positive voice representing my Austin neighborhood. I was also able to represent my university and let the world know my ultimate goal of becoming President of the United States.

I worked with other students who came from around the globe. I became a better listener and was able to understand many different viewpoints and why these viewpoints matter. I will never forget the many conversations I had with students who are now my friends. Many shared what it was like coming to America and how they did not understand why paperwork asked for their race or ethnicity because where they come from, everyone is seen as one.

I also knew that engaging in this program would provide me with new political knowledge and allow me to hear the voices of people who had different perspectives but the same goal of changing the world for the better. I did not know much about the political process because my family rarely discussed politics. I was not sure if I would be able to develop the level of understanding I did, and for that I am thankful. This experience definitely assisted me in many of my classes.

There was so much that took place at the convention, from conversations about the hacking of the DNC, to state officials being accused of spending money on all the wrong things, to beautiful speeches. I wouldn’t trade in this experience for anything in the world. It inspired me to become better at my craft, to study hard, and, most important, to make a difference in this world.

Studying beyond AU is exactly what it says: students having the chance to study outside of their required classes, ranging from attending conventions, like I did, to studying in a different country. I recommend that all students participate in at least one Study Beyond opportunity, if not more. They can learn so much about themselves. It is an experience they will not regret!