As a part of the professional development of our MAEUS students, the European Union Center offers students the opportunity for a trip to Washington D.C. in the Spring semester. This year's trip happened from March 21 to the 25. This article is Part Two of a series of posts written by different MAEUS students. In this article, MAEUS student Victoria Bauer discusses the trip to Lewis-Burke Associates lobbying firm. Previous entries in the 2017 series can be found here. Entries about past DC Trips can be found here.
For the week of March 21st, myself and a few of my fellow MAEUS students were in Washington DC to explore and interact with a few key people in different agencies both in the private and public sector. In our packed schedule, we met with the Lewis-Burke Associates, a lobbying firm, on our third day of the trip.
Of the meetings we had on our trip, this was one of my favorites. In case one is not familiar, lobbyists are people who influence legislators in the federal government to help their clients. Mainly Lewis-Burke works with tier 1 universities (UIUC is one of them) and other research institutions. Of those research institutions, the majority are for science, and I bonded with Lauren and Ben (whom we met) on how I grew up near one of their clients, FermiLab.
During the meeting, we asked Lauren and Ben about personal career advice, the difference of working in Washington in the private sector rather than the public sector and the impact of lobbyists in higher education. Before this trip, I never realized how important lobbyists and research were to higher education and other scientific research institutions.
What really stood out to me was that Lewis Burke Associates consider themselves advocates for their clients when asking the government to obtain funding for projects and programs. They are a firm that must research and know about the organization they are advocating for to the government so that the organization can obtain federal funding. Thanks to them, universities like ours are able research and produce wonderful results we can share with the world.
Overall, this meeting was productive, and I enjoyed it not only because of what lobbyists can do for universities like ours, but because it gave me a sense that research is important, even the research I conduct as a MAEUS student.