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Frostburg State University Student Completes Capitol Hill Internship Thanks to J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs
09/04/2015

Frostburg State University Student Completes Capitol Hill Internship Thanks to J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs
Frostburg State University student Taylor Schmitz, right, met Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin following a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Schmitz attended for Rep. Bill Posey of Florida. Schmitz completed an internship in Posey’s Capitol Hill office over the summer.

Taylor Schmitz’s eye-opening experience as a Capitol Hill intern this summer made the Frostburg State University student eager to follow his passion for politics, thanks to the opportunity from the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs.

“You can only learn so much from a textbook, no matter how much you read,” said Schmitz, a Mount Airy resident. “There’s only so much you can learn before you can get to Capitol Hill and see what happens behind the scenes.”

Schmitz double majors in political science and criminal justice at FSU. In Washington, he did everything from calling constituents and reading over legislation to attending committee hearings for Republican Congressman Bill Posey, whose Florida district includes Cape Canaveral. He also met Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin following a House Ways and Means Committee hearing.

Schmitz, a senior, envisioned himself teaching, initially majoring in social science, but his passion for politics grew even more since he first enrolled. After he helped out a family friend on her election campaign to be a state delegate, politics took a stronger hold on him.

“I loved it ever since,” said Schmitz, who also plays on the men’s lacrosse team.

He was encouraged to participate through the Beall Institute at FSU thanks to Executive Director Tim Magrath, one of Schmitz’s professors. The Beall Institute was created by gifts through the FSU Foundation from the late Beall, a former U.S. senator, his family and others. Since 2005, the Beall Institute assisted and financially supported students with opportunities to serve on Capitol Hill in Washington and in the General Assembly in Annapolis.

“The Political Science Department is great,” Schmitz said. “Everyone is willing to help you no matter what. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Schmitz encourages prospective political science students to consider what FSU has access to, thanks to its location and the Beall Institute.

“D.C. is in our backyard. When you’re a political science major in Maryland, you have access to everything – huge lobbying organizations and the federal government,” Schmitz said. “There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, and it makes sense to be a political science major at FSU.”

The Beall Institute provided a stipend for Schmitz during his internship to help offset his transportation expenses driving from Mount Airy to the Capitol.

During his time on Capitol Hill, Schmitz worked with legislative aides, an intern coordinator and the chief of staff. He progressed from performing administrative tasks and setting up tours around the Capitol to writing letters and talking to constituents.

Schmitz was happy he could at least give his thoughts to someone on a right-to-carry bill on firearms.

“Mr. Posey’s rule is if he can’t read a bill, he’s not going to vote on it,” he said. “So, they handed me a bill and asked me what I thought of it as a young person.”

Despite the public’s dissatisfaction of Congress, Schmitz was encouraged to see that the legislative system still works.

“Your voice does matter. Calling your representative or senator does matter, even at the federal level. It is very important to hear from constituents, and it’s very easy to get involved.”

Following graduation, Schmitz wants to enlist in the military and then become a lobbyist, hopefully representing one of his passions through the National Rifle Association or a tax reform group.

“People tend to think of a lobbyist as a negative thing,” he said. “However, they are a very good resource to members of Congress.”

He encourages freshmen and prospective FSU political science students to get involved early, know what’s going on in their own community and build relationships to build a foundation for a career.

“The vast majority of American people forget that it’s government by the people, for the people,” he said. “It’s our government, and it’s something I want to get involved in.”

To learn more about the Beall Institute and opportunities in the Department of Political Science, contact Tim Magrath at tmagrath@frostburg.edu or 301-687-4080. For information about the FSU Foundation or to support the Beall Institute, call 301-687-4161 or visit www.frostburg.edu/foundation/ways-to-give.

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For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu