Indiana State University Newsroom

Political science grad interning with Indiana governor

August 22, 2017

Olivia Walker always thought she wanted to be an attorney until she job-shadowed one. Then, after graduating from Indiana State University this spring, she was awarded a yearlong, paid fellowship with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's office. Now, she's picturing a future in state government.

"Now that I am here, I realize how important public service is," she said.

She initially learned about the position online and worked with several of her professors to create a competitive application. Although Walker has only been at her new position for just a few weeks, she has already found it to be rewarding and impactful.

"I leave meetings feeling like I have accomplished something," Walker said. "I was in a meeting about pre-K, and we were discussing the impact we hope it will have on kids. I just thought it was amazing that we are providing kids with such a valuable start to their education."

During Walker's fellowship, she will rotate through a variety of state agencies each quarter. This quarter, she is working with the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).

"In FSSA, am spearheading a project to improve compliance with federal regulations," Walker said. "Also, I am helping with the coordination of the state's recently expanded pilot program for pre-K."

Walker has been enjoying her experience so far, including her new FSSA colleagues.

"I've gotten to know some great people here," Walker said. "Dr. (Jennifer) Walthall, the secretary of FSSA, is amazing. She is running the largest state agency in Indiana and continues practicing medicine once a week in the Riley Children's Hospital ER - all while being a mom.

"I also love the three men I am in the fellowship with. We meet once a week and discuss what is going on in the agency we are assigned to. It's great to have people who are making the post-college adjustment."

Walker says she is thankful for her time at Indiana State and credited her former involvement with Residential Life as a residential assistant and academic peer advocate and member of Delta Gamma as a helping hand for her growth. She also thanks her political science study buddies for helping her through her not-so-easy major.

"Without them, I probably would have switched majors or changed schools," Walker said. "Political science is hard, but the group of people I took my classes with made it fun. We are more than just classmates, and that made a huge difference in my coursework."

If Walker could give her freshmen-year-self a piece of advice, she said it would be to enjoy college a bit more.

"I was always in such a hurry to graduate," Walker said. "As much as real life is fun, college responsibilities are much smaller than what you face in real life. I regularly spend a good amount of my commute in traffic, and on those days, I miss rolling out of bed 10 minutes before class."

Walker has about 10 more months at her internship. As for her post-fellowship plans, Walker hopes to work in state government.


Photo: -- Olivia Walker poses for a photograph with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. (Submitted photo)

Writer and media contact: Antonio Turner, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, or 812-237-3773