Political Science Undergraduate, Bushra Bani-Salman described her internship in Washington, D.C. as “life changing”.

Bushra Bani-Salman is a senior political science major at the University of Kentucky. As a transfer student who has only been at UK for two years, she has already made an impact on campus, especially within the political science department. Originally from Louisville, she always had a desire to go to UK. Bushra described coming to UK as both exciting and nerve-wracking, but 100% worth it.  She says there’s a tremendous difference between who she was before enrolling and who she is now. Now, not only is she excited to go to class and stay on campus throughout the day (and sometimes night), but she has many more goals set in place and sees herself and her life more clearly than she previously imagined. She credits a lot of this change to the professors she has interacted with in the department. She said the professors here seem like they care, like they want her to succeed and that she enjoys connecting with her professors as much as with fellow students.

Bushra had the opportunity to be a part of the WilDCats at the Capitol program. WilDCats at the Capital is the University of Kentucky’s federal government internship program that offers any UK student the opportunity to intern, earn course credit, and gain experience at the highest levels of government while living in the nation’s capital. She described her time there as a life changing experience. Bushra had a range of tasks she was entrusted with during her internship with the Budget Committee—from sitting in on briefings and drafting memos to helping file and organize documents. She said no matter how big or small, one of the most rewarding feelings was seeing how her work came together and helped create a bill for the federal budget. Furthermore, she developed lasting relationships with the Budget Committee staff, such as the Deputy Staff Director, who extended opportunities to her such as sitting in on meetings in different governmental departments. Grateful for the staff she worked with, Bushra said she felt like she had a family for four months, and she has visited them since completing her internship.

Inspired by the fruitful relationships she built and opportunities she had during her internship, upon returning to UK Bushra started the Political Science Undergraduate Advisory Board. Her goal for the Board was to establish a community among political science students where they feel comfortable collaborating, going to networking events, and connecting with professors. She said after her time in D.C., she really saw the effect the department has in providing students with these sorts of opportunities. Her time in D.C. also helped alter her career path from law, as she was exposed to more careers for political science majors than becoming an attorney. That’s why one of her goals in establishing the Board is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the diverse career paths that exist.

Originally destined for law school, Bushra is now looking at graduate schools in Washington, D.C. to earn her Master's in foreign affairs. After visiting her family in Jordan, she developed a strong interest in foreign affairs, specifically between the United States and the Middle East. She wants to focus on work and foreign policy goals that strengthen the relationship between the two regions and bring prosperity to both. In addition to creating the Undergraduate Advisory Board, Bushra is working closely with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries and has taken over the UK chapter of Amnesty International. One of her passions is human rights, which she is currently doing independent research in. She is working with these organizations to aid human rights efforts. In such a short time, Bushra has had a large impact at the University of Kentucky and on the Lexington community.

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