Hey everyone, my name is Jon and I am the new intern at the AARP Illinois legislative office in Springfield. I attend the University of Illinois at Springfield and am majoring in Political Science with a minor in Anthropology. I grew up in Peotone and moved to Steger to live with my grandmother about ten years ago when my grandfather died. I then went on to attend Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, where I studied Political Science and became the first member of my family to earn my Associate’s Degree. It was there that I met my favorite Political Science professor who not only influenced me in choosing my major, but also led me to UIS and all of the opportunities that have followed.
During my last semester at Prairie State both of my parents lost their jobs. I decided that I would leave school indefinitely and focus on making money any way I could. While working odd jobs here and there I was hired to work at a grocery store in Crete called Walt’s Food Center. A year and a half later I was named their 2011 Employee of the Year. This instilled a confidence in me that I never really had before. I realized that my work ethic would lead me to achieving bigger and better things. Soon after, my father found a new job and I immediately decided to return to school. I am now the first member of my family to attend a university, and am on my way to being the first to graduate from one. I still go home on the weekends to see my family, friends, and girlfriend, as well as to continue working at Walt’s. So if you’re ever shopping and see me, say “hello”.
I’ve learned that politics affect basically every aspect of our lives, and I made it my goal to try and understand as much as I possibly can. Someday I wish to work in local government as an elected official, to help those who have helped me become the person I am today.
A number of factors brought me to AARP; the first being the Applied Study Term program at UIS, which was one of my biggest reasons for attending the school. The program guides you through finding your own internship and helps students discover what they want to do with their lives by providing opportunities you never knew were within reach.
A second thing that brought me to AARP was living with my grandmother for the past ten years. Through this experience I have witnessed the needs and hardships that many seniors deal with every day of their lives. It has really opened my eyes to just how much we younger people take for granted everything that has been provided to us, primarily by older generations. I know that I would be nowhere without my grandmother and those just like her who continue to make sacrifices for our well-being.
My favorite experience thus far was working on the recent debate for the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois. This was particularly rewarding because it is the district I live in, and I feel like I was able to do a service to people I’ve grown up with. It also doesn’t get any better than being at the Capitol. It is astounding to think that about a year ago I was simply just pushing shopping carts and bagging groceries, while today I am standing side by side with my state’s most powerful decision-makers.
Outside of work and school I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my girlfriend. I also like keeping up with politics, playing any sport I can think of, and cheering for all the Chicago teams (except the Cubs, GO SOX!). I am a movie and music fanatic. Everyone and everything around us has a story to tell and I am always eager to listen.
Are you interested in volunteering or interning with AARP Illinois? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve got plenty of opportunities in both our Springfield and Chicago offices.