With a desire to pursue a career in politics, NOVA student Idris Jibowu is already gaining legislative experience as an intern for United States Senator Tim Kaine. After undergoing a competitive selection process, Jibowu is the only community college student out of six interns selected to work in Kaine’s office.
Since early February, the social science major has been working alongside elected officials on Capitol Hill in the Russell and Hart Senate Office Buildings. Three days a week, Jibowu travels into D.C. to take on a full-day of engaging with constituents, serving as a tour guide, scheduling meetings, recording inquires, providing various forms of customer service and organizing important documents for legislative aids and press team members. The Freedom High School graduate described this remarkable opportunity as life-changing and beneficial toward developing his career in public service.
“It’s every political science major’s dream to work on Capitol Hill and every day feels surreal,” Jibowu said. “I have worked a lot of different jobs, but this one has definitely been the best. Each individual I have met has been very supportive, understanding and a joy to be around. This entire experience is truly amazing, simply because I am meeting government officials who work for the people.”
While attending NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus, Jibowu decided to enroll in an internship course, PLS 290: Coordinated Internship, to learn about available opportunities for supervised on-the-job training with selected businesses and organizations. After applying to over 10 internships without receiving an immediate response, he felt slightly discouraged. That is until he received a call on an early Tuesday morning in February to join other interns from George Mason, James Madison, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins and American University in the office of Senator Kaine.
“Working as an intern for Senator Kaine has changed my views on politics in a great way,” Jibowu said. “I started to believe that maybe the American public is not as ill-informed as many may think. Daily we receive calls from so many people who freely voice their concerns or opinions on matters, but they give specific reasons as to why they feel a certain way and they are always very respectful and well educated on the issue. I realized the Senator’s staff really cares about the opinions of the public and they do their best to respond through phone calls, emails or mailed letters.”
Since enrolling at NOVA in Fall 2013, Jibowu has been an active participant with several campus organizations. He is a staff writer and social media editor for Above the Fold, NOVA’s student-run newspaper, a member of MAN UP and serves as senator of the Woodbridge Campus Student Government Association (SGA). When he isn’t reading, studying or interning, the New York native helps to operate the Bill Mehr Drop-in Center, a homeless center in Woodbridge, as vice-chairman with the Cooperative Council of Ministries (CCOM).
Although his internship will end the last week of May, Jibowu acknowledges NOVA-Woodbridge Communications instructor June Forte for helping him to develop confidence in career-building and interviewing skills. The aspiring politician feels his internship experience would not have been possible without words of encouragement and mentoring from his MAN UP advisors, parents and friends Tiziana and Darnell Poage.
Expected to graduate NOVA in Dec. 2017, Jibowu will transfer to George Mason University to pursue a degree in government and international politics, and later he hopes to receive his master’s degree in political theory. He plans to devote a life-long career to focusing on education advocacy, civic engagement and ending homelessness.
Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.