Southeast Political Science Graduate Aspires to Advocate for Others Through Democracy

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For Southeast Missouri State University student Erika Bone, the reasons to attend Southeast were plentiful.

“There are so many reasons why I chose Southeast,” says the Jacksonville, Illinois, native. “To start, the campus and Cape Girardeau as a whole are beautiful. The campus is kept up to date, and the grounds are well maintained.”

Bone, a spring 2020 graduate earning a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in economics, says that her time on campus was a positive influence on her professional aspirations, as it provided her with experiences that were relevant to her studies.

“On campus, I worked in the President’s Office, where I would perform administrative tasks,” she said. “This job also allowed me to learn more about Southeast itself, such as the history of the Dome and about the Board of Regents and what they do.”

While at Southeast, Erika has been president of her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma.

She also has been president of her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, served as a student senator representing the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as part of the Student Government Association, and has participated in Women in Economics and the State Leadership Conference of Phi Beta Lambda.

Her experiences on campus and in the classroom helped prepare her for internship opportunities at the Missouri Capitol with Rep. Kathryn Swan and Rep. Tom Hurst.

“Each of these different occupations brought me different skills and knowledge related to my future career path,” she said.

Bone says that her decision to major in political science came after her internship at the Missouri Capitol.

“Before, I thought that if I were to major in political science that I would have to go to law school or teach — I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to go to law school at that time, and I didn’t feel that teaching was my calling,” she said. “But after these experiences, I was able to see just how vast the world of politics is, and I am very interested in a wide array of the different facets in the world of politics.”

During the summer of 2019, Erika interned in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

During the summer of 2019, she interned in the Washington, D.C., office of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, building on previous experiences she gained working in his Cape Girardeau office. In Washington, she assisted constituents, attended policy briefings and press events, and lead Capitol building tours. The opportunity to lead visitors on Capitol tours was an “amazing” experience, she said.

Additionally, she’s worked for the Missouri Republican Party and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

The joy she felt in these roles in helping discover solutions to real-world issues faced by people inspired her to pursue a career in politics.

Her most memorable moment was helping at President Trump’s rally at the Show Me Center and being able to connect with coworkers she’s met through her previous legislative experiences.

After graduation, she plans to work on political campaigns before going to law school and eventually serve on Capitol Hill and become a lobbyist.

“I want to work in my career field because of the ability to hear people’s concerns and be able to do something about it,” she said. “I know most people seem to have a negative connotation when it comes to anything political, but I think it should be just the opposite. There are so many different career options within the field that it is more diverse than people realize.”

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