Indiana State University Newsroom

Feasel earns Wilson Center internship

May 10, 2011

Even with his classes finished, economics major Trenton Feasel decided to push his graduation back to August from May. He has a good cause.

Feasel, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, will spend his summer interning at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. He is the second Indiana State student to intern at the center under an agreement with Lee Hamilton, former president and director of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

"I know how great an opportunity this is," Feasel said about his decision. "The Wilson Center is a world-renowned research institution. Not many people get an opportunity to intern there. Most interns are from the Ivy League."

University officials negotiated the summer-long internship with Hamilton, who is a former Indiana Congressman. Hamilton also served as a former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chair of the Iran-Contra Investigation and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission and the Iraq Study Group.

"This is a great opportunity, and we have it thanks to Mr. Hamilton," said Mike Chambers, political science chair and one of the people who worked toward creating the internship with Hamilton at the Center.
The center tries to exemplify President Wilson's ideals by putting scholarship at the service of the world's public life. The Wilson Center brings scholars to Washington to interact with policymakers through nonpartisan programs and projects. While at the center from May 24 until July 28, Feasel will assist two scholars with their research. He will working with William Krist, who is studying U.S. trade policy and Marc Frey, who is studying development economics.

"I'm pretty excited about it, to see it first hand," Feasel said about the economic research into public policy. "I think it will be quite different than to be an observer from here."

John Conant, ISU economics department chair, Brian Hasler, ISU special assistant to the president for external relations, and Chambers worked with Hamilton to create the opportunity for ISU students. One student each year will be selected to spend his or her summer in D.C. working at the center.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to have our students in Washington D.C.," Chambers said. "By being at the Wilson Center, whole other larger opportunities will be opened up to Trenton. This is a chance to work with world-class scholars."

"This is a perfect example of experiential learning and community engagement," Conant said.

The students learn about public policy and economics while working alongside leading researchers on issues that affect the public.

"This provides a really cool way to provide experience for students," Conant said. "They see how economics works outside of an academic setting in a public policy process. In D.C., they'll be smack dab in the middle of the process and see it in a way that you can't see it from here."

Feasel, who wants to work in public policy economics and research, sees the internship as a way to help him to his future goals.

"Most people don't really get an opportunity to get an internship at a place with the reputation they have," he said. "(Public policy) is important to have good government and good institutions to improve people's lives. The primary way I look at improvements is the economic impact of people's lives. The whole thing requires quality research to make good decisions."

Trenton Feasel

Contact: John Conant, Indiana State University, economics department chair, at or 812-237-2160
Mike Chambers, Indiana State University, political science department chair, at or 812-237-2515

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, associate director of media relations, at or 812-237-7972