By Blair Stephens
Robert Paulsen, a senior from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is driven and unashamedly passionate about politics and the United States of America. He also has a strong Christian belief system, evidenced by his choice to come to Baylor. “I came to Baylor because it was a good Christian school. Once I saw the campus I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” Paulsen said.
This summer because of Baylor, Paulsen got the opportunity to combine his love for politics and his values into an experience that he will never forget.
Paulsen went to Washington D.C. for three months, lived at George Washington University, and worked on Capitol Hill. His experience was part of the Mayborn internship program through the political science department. Paulsen was awarded a scholarship for his participation.
For the first half of the summer, Paulsen interned for Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., and for the second half, he interned for Congressman John Sullivan, 1st District of Oklahoma. Paulsen worked closely with Congressman Sullivan’s Chief of Staff and Baylor 1997 alumna, Elizabeth Bartheld.
In Washington, Paulsen developed a new appreciation for the Baylor community, “It was cool working for a Baylor alumna. It was nice to have another member of the Baylor family to be close to. She knows Baylor and Waco so there was a little bit of familiarity.”
The internships kept Paulsen busy but busy in a good way. He was not an intern that made copies and picked up coffee, he got to work on actual projects for the legislators.
“My favorite working experience was getting to work hand in hand with the staff on projects such as budget legislation and healthcare legislation,” Paulsen said. “Working on the healthcare legislation was really neat because my dad is a doctor so I got to use my insight into my work.”
Whether it was going to the National Archives one Saturday morning, going for a night run through the National Mall, or eating at his favorite local restaurant, Tortilla Coast, “to satisfy [his] taste of Texas,” Paulsen made time to experience the many things so unique and historically rich in our nation’s capital.
Although he did many things, Paulsen’s favorite memory was of the little things. “I loved picking up dinner and going down to the WWII memorial and taking in the sights and sounds of Washington D.C. on the National Mall.”
While Paulsen’s experience is one he will never forget, he did not participate in the program just for fun. As a political science major and a history minor, Paulsen plans to go to law school next year. “My top three schools are Southern Methodist University, Oklahoma University and Baylor.” After law school, Paulsen plans to work in either Texas, Oklahoma or Washington D.C.
“I loved my time up there, absolutely adored it, and learned a lot too,” Paulsen said.
For more information on the Washington D.C. internship program or the Mayborn Scholarship, visit the Department of Political Science website.