Emma Maple '23
Future journalist digs into the issues as D.C. writer for The Whitworthian
During spring semester 2022, Emma Maple '23 seized the opportunity to combine her interests in journalism and politics while on the American Studies Program in Washington, D.C. Not only did Maple intern at a public policy think tank, but she also served as the first correspondent for Whitworth's student newspaper, The Whitworthian. Below, the triple major in communication, peace studies and sociology shares about this influential and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Why did you apply to the American Studies Program?
Maple: I decided to apply to the American Studies Program because I was looking for a program that would challenge me, grow me and help me to view things in a new light. Growing up I always had the dream of going to the East Coast because it seemed like that's where everything was happening, so when I saw a D.C. study away opportunity was available, I decided to take it. I knew that you could only learn so much by staying in the same place, so I thought that a study away opportunity would expand my horizons and help me to experience new perspectives, especially politically.
What did your internship involve, and what did you enjoy most about it?
Maple: I interned with the Center for Public Justice, which is a nonprofit think tank that works to both influence public policy and equip Christian citizens with what it calls a "public justice perspective." Essentially what this means is the organization is trying to help Christian citizens realize the value that comes from political engagement at all levels, for issues that matter and address real needs. Additionally, the Center for Public Justice attempts to reduce polarization and does not approach issues from the traditional right and left narratives. At this organization, I worked as a Shared Justice intern (its program for young adults). I went to many webinars to learn about issues, did a lot of editing and writing of articles for its online publication, and worked with its research prize (the Hatfield Prize). One aspect of policy I did research on was "Credible Messenger" mentoring, a movement to improve outcomes for young people in the justice system. I also researched education for incarcerated individuals.
What made serving as a correspondent for The Whitworthian a valuable experience?
Maple: Writing for The Whitworthian while in D.C. was one of my favorite parts of my study away program because it allowed me to engage with issues at a deeper level than many of my peers, as well as network with a purpose. I remember one article specifically, and how it allowed me to view D.C. in a new light. My cohort did what was called a "Justice Walk" on a famous D.C. street, H Street. In that walk, we learned about the history of the street and the gentrification that is taking place. I thought it served as a powerful message about how we need to know the history of a place, so I pitched the idea to my editor, who approved it. Not only did I get to connect with the leader of our Justice Walk at a deeper level through our interview, but I also was able to meet someone I never would have otherwise. I interviewed a historian for Ben's Chili Bowl, a local Black-owned restaurant with a location on H Street. That conversation turned out to be one of my greatest learning experiences and best times in D.C., and it never would have happened unless I had been part of The Whitworthian.
How has this experience helped you discern your future vocation?
Maple: Being in D.C. has been a huge compass for how I want to direct my life. Through writing for The Whitworthian about people's stories that aren't often told, I developed a passion for this type of work. Additionally, being in the highly political, deeply engaged area of D.C. taught me a lot about engaging with issues at deeper than surface level, and really being part of the community you are in. In the future, this will direct my vocation in two ways. 1) I now know I am going to go into journalism professionally in the future. 2) I am going to find ways to be connected, to hear people's stories, and to get my hands dirty working for issues I care about.
About the American Studies Program: Run by CCCU GlobalEd – Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, this semester-long program provides access to substantive internships in the nation's capital. It is one of several CCCU programs for which Whitworth offers scholarships.