A semester in Washington D.C. guides a history major's plans for the future

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Lillie Brady in Washington DC
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History major, senior class vice president, soccer player and SGA senior senator Lillie Brady ’17 is putting to work her classroom knowledge and student-athlete time-management skills this semester on Capitol Hill. As a U.S. Senate intern for Senator Thom Tillis (NC-R), she is living and working in Washington D.C., through the Capitol Hill Internship Program as she focuses on charting a post-graduation direction for the future.

With plans to enroll in law school after working for a year, Lillie is discovering a particular interest in environmental policy—with conducting research on this topic as well as attending related meetings, briefings and conferences—emerging as a favorite component of her internship experience.

“In addition to gaining knowledge about the environment, I’ve adjusted to the fast-paced work setting and understand better how offices of this size and magnitude function on a daily basis,” she said. “These are things a professor cannot teach in a classroom; firsthand experience is the only way to gain the skills needed to thrive in this situation.”

Lillie notes that the intensive reading and writing requirements of Pfeiffer’s history program have more than adequately prepared her to conduct research at the Library of Congress, manage required policy-related reading and draft post-hearing briefs. She adds that her knowledge of politics and historical events permit her to excel as a tour guide of the U.S. Capitol building.

“I love talking to tour groups from North Carolina,” she said. “Between those experiences—and getting to know the other student interns in my office from across the country and globe—I’ve made some incredible contacts.”

Visiting the Smithsonian museums and the capital’s iconic monuments, trying new restaurants, shopping and taking in the scenery during runs through D.C.’s neighborhoods are aspects of city life that Lillie has grown to appreciate. Unsure initially about tackling a dramatic change in surroundings after growing up in Boone, N.C., and living on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer campus, she knows small-town life will always be available if she decides that is her preference.

“Sometimes opportunities are once in a lifetime and it’s important to take a leap of faith,” she said. “Whether or not I ever again live in a big city, I can say that I did it and move on to the next adventure.”