By Jane Ellen Dial, Arts/Entertainment Editor
September 13, 2023
When Bailey Gibson went to Washington, she found more than politicians in suits. She was reminded of her purpose and the reason she is studying finance.
Bailey Gibson, a senior finance major from Hot Springs, spent six weeks in Washington, D.C., as an intern for Congressman Westerman this past summer.
“Last spring… I started looking at finance internships first, and then I stumbled upon Congressmen Westerman’s personal site,” Gibson said. “I was offered an interview, and then I was offered a position within the committee, which is a little bit more prestigious. I took that opportunity and was able to go and work in the Committee on National Resources.”
Once her internship began, Gibson worked Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. However, there was also time for sightseeing.
“There were some days that we were able to leave a little early and they let us go to museums,” Gibson said. “So I went to all the Smithsonian Museums, and I got to see all the monuments.”
During the first two weeks of Gibson’s internship, she had the opportunity to work in the press office, where she got social media and press experience.
“I got to see the behind the scenes of how the press works, work on their social media and write some tweets that they actually posted,” Gibson said.
Gibson then moved over to the Committee on Oversight and Investigations.
“I did a lot of research on things like critical mineral supply chains and the mismanagement of national parks,” Gibson said “I got to read official correspondence and attend briefings, take notes and then report back to legislative aids and talk about what I saw in the briefings. And sometimes they would use my notes in memos and things and send it to the whole committee.”
Gibson’s summer days were spent working in the Longworth office building.
“I lived at a Catholic university and it was about a 45 minute commute every morning via metro,” Gibson said. “Then I would walk through the senate, through the capital and then into the House every day.”
Gibson was one of nine interns within the Longworth office building, with all of them being from Arkansas.
“They prioritize Arkansas and it was cool because [there] were students from Hendrix, Harding and the University of Arkansas,” Gibson said “So, I got to get to know them.”
Gibson also gained valuable policy experience that added to her understanding of the United States government and how it functions.
“I got to see firsthand how the whole legislative process works, which was unique,” Gibson said. “Our country is literally run by 20-year-olds and they will tell you that up there because everyone is so young.”
It may not be the last time Gibson goes to Washington. Her six-week stay may lead to her future as a resident of the city.
“I can see myself going back to D.C. if I could work in the capacity of financial services or small business…I got to see firsthand how they are making changes and drafting legislation and trying to implement that with the different members,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s summer was filled with many memories, but one in particular day stuck out to her as a highlight.
“I had the opportunity to shadow Chairman Westerman one day,” Gibson said. “I got to follow him from eight in the morning to 10 o’clock at night. We started out with a media interview, followed him into his different meetings with constituents throughout the day and then I got to sit on the dais with him in the hearing room. We finished the evening with a Capitol tour.”
While Bailey’s internship did not directly correlate with her major, it shed a light on the heart of her purpose.
“Politics…is about promoting things and understanding people,” Gibson said. “That’s exactly what I will do in finance. I want to work in the financial services industry, whether that be through Capital Hill or working as a financial advisor.”
Over the summer, Gibson learned about people, most importantly, Arkansans and what they care about. Finances revolve around people and what they care about. In the same sense, Gibson will forever care about Washington, D.C.
“What I loved is that you were literally minutes away from history…all of the monuments and different museums,” Gibson said. “D.C. has so much to offer.”
By the end of the summer, she did not want to leave.
“I loved being so close to so many different opportunities and working in the Capitol,” Gibson said.
Ouachita certainly prepared Gibson for her time in Washington, D.C., and she gives credit to her academic journey for shaping the foundation she needed to complete her task at hand.
“I definitely feel like I had an advantage going into the internship because of my classes,” Gibson said “My professors have really emphasized the importance to me of networking in the business school. On Capitol Hill, networking is very important. From the first week I was able to make connections with people that worked in the different offices, get coffee with them and I was able to establish relationships that, if I did want to go back to D.C. and work, I would be able to [handle the job]. I think OBU had a lot to do with that and my professors here prepared me in learning how to speak to people and take advantage of the opportunities in front of me.”