TaylorAnn Wooley, a Black Hills State University student, spent last summer in Washington D.C. as a part of an internship with U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. A Political Science major with four minors, Wooley’s expansive educational background allowed her to work on unique projects during her time as a legislative intern.  

Wooley said she learned about the internship opportunity when Senator Rounds’ office came to campus last November to speak to political science majors about the different opportunities and internships available to them. Her background working as a page her senior year of high school and as a legislative aide her first two years of college for Wyoming Senator Chris Rothfuss made her stand out as a potential intern for Senator Rounds. She began interning in January, and in May, Wooley officially received the opportunity to intern in Washington D.C. for the summer. 

During her time in the state office, Wooley had the opportunity to work on research in the agriculture field due to her Earth Science minor. Once in Washington D.C., she was able to start working in the area she was most interested in: Foreign Relations. "I eventually hope to go to the Middle East to work in Afghanistan. So Foreign Relations is really my thing,” Wooley said. Senator Rounds is on the Armed Services Committee for the Senate which provided Wooley the ability to become a National Defense Intern and work with the Defense Fellows. 

As a National Defense Intern, Wooley witnessed the behind-the-scenes process of allocating the funds for the Department of Defense through the National Defense Authorization Act. She was able to immerse herself in the legislative process by observing the changes other senators wanted to implement and considering what decisions would benefit South Dakota and the United States. She also worked with the Agriculture Specialist and Communications Team in Washington D.C. because of her minors in Earth Science and Communications.  

Wooley is currently interning for Senator Rounds’ office in Rapid City, but after graduating this December from Black Hills State University, Wooley is planning to return to Washington D.C. “Internships are valuable because they give you a sense of what your life could look like,” Wooley said.  

Although her experiences and educational background contribute greatly to her success, Wooley said she is grateful to the BHSU professors who have been a part of her journey. “They instill a lot of confidence in you,” Wooley said. She said her professors have helped her believe in herself and are advocates for her, even if she is not studying the major that they specialize in. Wooley added she would not have considered the Earth Science minor that allowed her to work on different projects, if not for Dr. Abigail Domagall, professor of geology at BHSU.  

Additionally, being a part of the BHSU Debate Team provided Wooley with additional skills that helped her greatly in her internship. “Being a member of the Black Hills State University Debate team helped me learn how to present myself and information in the most effective ways possible, which was incredibly valuable during my internship,” Wooley explained.  

To current and future BHSU students, Wooley emphasized the importance of having a wide range of experiences and interests. Her four minors reflect her passions and make her a well-rounded individual. “I promise you have more interests than just your major. So, explore them!”