Tabor senior completes semester in D.C.

Diane Soldan, a Tabor College senior from Manhattan, recently completed a 15-week, semester-long internship in Washington, D.C.

As part of the American Studies program, administered by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, Soldan was one of 42 students selected from across the country to study and work alongside government officials.

Classroom topics focused on analyzing issues of unemployment, immigration reform and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughdiscussions that challenged students to explain and defend their opinions based on primary public policy research and biblical interpretations.

Beyond the classroom, participants also completed internships atvarious government and non-profit organizations around Washington.

Soldan worked 30 hours a week in the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, an agency that is responsible for negotiating free trade agreements.

“My main responsibility as press intern was to compile a packet of press clips before the senior staff meeting each morning,” Soldan said

“I searched numerous print and electronic media outlets for the most recent articles on international trade.”

The press packets, focusing on hot topics such as the beef ban with Japan, Canadian lumber tariffs, cotton subsidies in Africa and textile negotiations with China, were distributed manually and electronically to top USTR officials, USTR employees in D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland, as well as to select members of the vice president’s office, the National Security Council and the State Department.

Among Soldan’s other duties were helping conduct press conferences and media photo opportunities with foreign trade delegations.

Through such experiences, Soldan attended hearings in the House and Senate and met influential foreign dignitaries, including the Bahrainian Ambassador and Alejandro Toledo, the president of Peru.

“I observed firsthand how news is created and disseminated to the public on both the national and international level, and how this information then forms public opinion,” Soldan said.

Beyond her work and school responsibilities, Soldan attended events and visit historical sites in D.C. and the metro area with fellow interns.

“The most important lesson I discovered while in D.C. is that I must continually remind myself to pursue God,” Soldan said.

“My experience in D.C. was an excellent way for me to begin to transfer the leadership abilities and passions I had invested in athletics and student government at Tabor into a venue that has significance to my professional and spiritual callings for life after graduation.”

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