Julia Sikes, a Creative Writing major and Honors Scholar at Lubbock Christian University (LCU), is the university’s latest participant in the LCU Washington program.
The LCU Washington program has placed 102 students with a semester-long internship in the nation’s capital over the past 18 years. Students complete a full-time, entry-level professional internship in their chosen career field, and they participate in various professional development and academic learning experiences as a part of the program.
“I'm working for St. Columban Mission for Justice, Peace, and Ecology, and I'm a writing intern,” she explained. “I’m writing a series of articles over biodiversity loss.”
Applicants to the program apply for numerous internships, and then select from those organizations who return offers. “I was looking for programs that would be helpful for English majors,” Julia said, “and this was the first position I interviewed for. I liked that they were combining my academic field with something that’s making a difference, like conservation, so when they offered me the position, I took it.”
Julia arrived in Washington, D.C. at the end of May, and her internship runs for just over five weeks before she returns home at the beginning of August.
“I'm in a small organization, so there's only one other intern, but we have different supervisors. We work in the same space, so we're getting to know each other, but we do different tasks. I know exactly what I'm going to be doing for the rest of the semester,” she added, “so I already have those goals and timeframes in place, which works really well.”
One of the big draws of the program is the opportunity to network professionally, and one such event that Julia was able to attend was the Hope Away from Home: A Multifaith Celebration on World Refugee Day. The event was held on June 20 and made possible by a partnership between HIAS, The Episcopal Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and other religious and nonprofit organizations.
In addition to professional networking, the experience also provides ample opportunity to experience the storied nation’s capital and surrounding city.
“I really wanted try new experiences and expand my horizons—that's been really cool,” she added. “I've already made some good friends, and we've visited a couple places across D.C. together. It’s fascinating to see the difference in people from across the country.”
“We’ve visited Capitol Hill and a couple museums—many of these things are free,” she shared. “There's so much to do and explore, and there's a lot within walking distance. I’ve visited the National Archives, one of the Smithsonian museums, and I've been to the zoo, so I'm definitely taking advantage of what all there is to do here.”
“One of my favorite parts about the program is that they've done a really good job of providing opportunities to meet other interns,” Julia said, “and it has several career readiness programs built in. I'm really enjoying the parts that are a little bit more academic but specifically geared to prepare me for the professional world. Specifically in my internship, it's been really nice to just have some responsibility, to have a say in my work here—not everyone gets that experience. It’s not just busy work or something that's all dictated by my supervisor—I get to have input as well.”
Dr. Stacy Patty, Dean of the College of Honors and Liberal Arts, lauded Julia’s work and passion. “We are pleased to have Julia as an intern in Washington. Her work focuses on ways that displaced and poor people are affected disproportionately when environmental disasters occur. We certainly see the relevance of this work this summer, with temperatures rising to dangerous levels, especially for those people who have no relief from the heat. Julia is an excellent writer and analyst, and I am confident that she is representing LCU and the Honors College well.”
Julia is a member of the Christliche Damen social club and has served as the secretary of the Creative Writing Club. She’s also been a leader with Delight, a women’s ministry at LCU, though she plans to step back from those leadership positions as she focuses on her senior research project and final year of classes at LCU. Julia plans to graduate from LCU in May of 2024, and she is confident that her time in the LCU Washington program will prove valuable as she transitions to her professional career.
“I’d really like to go into editing,” she explained. “I currently work in the LCU University Writing Center, and I’d also like to do something that's faith-based, like editing for a Christian company. One of the big reasons I selected this internship was because it's writing-related, but it's also a Catholic organization, so it has that faith-based perspective on everything. I’m gaining some valuable experience.”
Opportunities in the LCU Washington program are available for fall, spring, and summer semesters, and students receive full academic credit for the internships. Any LCU student with junior standing and a GPA of 2.75 or higher may apply. Internships are available for all majors, and all accepted students receive scholarships covering 80% of program costs.
“My LCU Washington internship has been a really cool experience,” Julia emphasized. “I would absolutely recommend it, because I have enjoyed getting to expand my horizons, and there are so many opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally.”