MC student plans to work in D.C. senate office after graduation

Sitting on a plush seat amid the decorative design of the “Senators Only” dining hall, senior political science major Seth Colton could hardly believe that he had been admitted to the exclusive room in the Capitol, where he was dining in the company of some of the nation’s top political figures.

But after he graduates this spring from Marietta College, Colton will find himself at home in D.C., working in the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Colton, the son of Patricia and Robert Lothrop of Scarborough, Maine, and Ronald Colton, spent the spring semester in Washington, D.C., studying with the Washington Semester Program offered by American University. The program gave him the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in his field of political science. While enrolled in the program, Colton applied to the summer internship program through the University where he was offered a position working with Collins.

As part of his daily tasks for the Senator, Colton not only answered telephones and wrote summaries of reports, but he also wrote letters to constituents on the Senator’s behalf, conducted tours of the U.S. Capitol and fielded constituents’ concerns and inquiries.

The summer in D.C. provided Colton with a unique opportunity to learn by example and allowed him to implement his education by actually working in the field of political science. Colton credits most of his success to his education at Marietta College.

“Marietta taught me the complex workings of the legislative branch. This allowed me to have a better grasp on what goes on within the office environment as well as provided me with a solid foundation on which to base my answers to constituent’s inquiries,” Colton explained.

Colton said his experiences in D.C. were invaluable. He explained, “I learned that no matter what role you are serving, each person truly is vital to the workings of a congressional office.”

Colton also learned that it is very important to develop a sizeable network of contacts. He said that succeeding in future career endeavors can be much more productive with a well-rounded group of contacts.

Colton’s undertakings have been successful and he has been offered a position working for Collins in her D.C. office after he graduates in the spring. It is unclear what his title and job will be, but he signs his contract in March 2005.

Since 1947, American University has offered the Washington Semester Program. The program offers experiential education where students learn by doing, participating, hearing, seeing, asking questions, interning, and much more. The idea behind the program is to take students out of the classroom and into the real world. Students gain experience and contacts to jump-start their careers. Marietta College is one of approximately 200 colleges and universities participating in the program.