Southeast senior Mallory Simmons of Salem, Ill., recently completed an internship in Washington, D.C., at the Department of State. This was a different experience for this elementary education major who has a concentration in science and would like to earn a master’s degree in school administration someday.
“My time at the State Department in Washington, D.C., was one of the best times of my life,” Mallory said. “I worked in the Political-Military Affairs Bureau, which is the main link between the Pentagon and the State Department. I was able to work with all of the top officials in my bureau and had weekly meetings with the Assistant Secretary. I was also able to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sit in on meetings with her, and discuss some ideas with her, as well as a personal interview that involved only interns from my specific bureau. I was also able to meet several top officials from the Pentagon, including General Odierno.”
During her day-to-day activities, Mallory said she attended briefings at the Department of State, the Pentagon and the Capitol. She also wrote action memos and informational memos for the bureau, and checked, edited, and confirmed papers being forwarded to the Department of State and to Capitol Hill. She was responsible for sending out the top news stories every morning and afternoon with what was going on around the world.
“This was such an amazing experience for me as I was able to see classified information,” Mallory said. “To work in my particular bureau, I had to obtain the required secret level security clearance which takes up to three months to process.”
Mallory lived on Capitol Hill for 12 weeks in Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH). The housing she was assigned was in a townhouse with five other roommates. She shared the apartment with three interns working in the Senate, one working at Department of Agriculture and one working at the Smithsonian.
Mallory’s extensive involvement at Southeast helped land her the position. Mallory was one of the students who founded the Southeast Dance Marathon her freshman year.
“I have seen it grow into an amazing event that brings all kinds of students together for a very worthy cause,” Mallory said. “Last year, I was the chairperson of the Southeast Dance Marathon, and we had over 100 participants and raised $20,000! It is unbelievable to be a part of something from the beginning and watch it get bigger with each passing year.”
Mallory is also a member of Student Government, Student Ambassadors, Presidential Ambassadors, Student-Missouri State Teachers Association and Phi Eta Sigma. She also had the privilege last spring to study at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., over spring break.
"I feel that I have had the chance to work with exceptionally bright students and the best advisors by being a part of these organizations,” Mallory said. “My time at Southeast has definitely contributed to my success. This University has so many resources that students can utilize to be successful in every aspect of their lives, not just the resources at Kent Library. Some of my best resources here have been my professors, Southeast administration and other students. We have some very gifted people here that I am continuously inspired by, and I love learning from them. I feel that my time here has helped me grow so much as a person and as a student. I know every experience I have had will help me in the future.”
Mallory says her favorite moments at Southeast come from her freshman year, when she lived in community style housing on the third floor of Towers South.
“I met some really great people and got close to everyone on my floor,” said Mallory. “I would recommend community style living to every incoming freshman. It can be an awesome experience!”
When Mallory isn’t busy with school-related activities, she enjoys admiring the murals on the downtown river wall and wandering into the antique stores in downtown Cape Girardeau. She also loves to travel and says that Romania, with its beautiful landscapes and warm and friendly people, is her favorite travel destination.
Mallory says the best advice she can pass on to future Southeast students is to, “Get involved! Do any and every activity that you might be interested in. It will bring you many opportunities that will help you branch out and meet new people at the University.”