Saginaw Valley State University alumna Alissa Rutkowski recently began an internship as a communications and policy intern with the Joint National Committee for Languages and International Studies in Washington, D.C. The committee represents language education advocacy organizations across the nation.
The Birch Run native assists in planning congressional meetings and performs policy research. Her most recent responsibilities include helping to coordinate the committee's Language Advocacy Day events scheduled Thursday to Friday, Feb. 14-15, in Washington, D.C.
“Right now, my focus is organizing Language Advocacy Day so that members of the language community from all over the country have the opportunity to meet with federal policymakers and discuss the state of language learning in the U.S.," she said.
Rutkowski received a bachelor's degree in psychology from SVSU in May 2018. While at SVSU, she served as an orientation leader for international students; was selected as a member of the Roberts Fellowship Program, a student leadership development initiative that concludes with a trip to several nations in Asia; and participated in SVSU’s Study Abroad program.
“Because of SVSU, I was able to discover and develop my passion for world languages, international relations and advocacy,” she said. “I was also able to build great relationships with my professors along the way, which opened the door to multiple research and conference opportunities.”
These experiences grew her ambition as an advocate for foreign language education and inclusion, Rutkowski said.
“When I was working on a faculty-led linguistic research project, I was constantly confronted by people outside of the field asking questions like, ‘Why is this relevant to me?,’ or, ‘Why is language study so important?,'" she said. "I realized that I wanted to be able to share the benefits of language education with others and offer support to those who work in the field."