University News

Former Refugee Interns in Washington, D.C.

August 09, 2017
Author: Cami Mathews
Category: Academics

Abdi Eftin with SUU football helmetAs a young child, Abdikadir Eftin left his home in Kenya with his family fleeing starvation and violence. The Eftin family moved to Salt Lake City seeking a better life and hope for a bright future.

Growing up in Salt Lake, young Eftin thrived. While attending West High School, Eftin earned good grades and competed with the cross country team. Always grateful for his new life in America, Eftin decided that he wanted to serve others and pursue a career in politics.

Once Eftin arrived at Southern Utah University, he decided to study both Political Science and Communication. He quickly became involved in different areas on campus, including the orientation office for incoming freshmen and the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

Serving on the Leavitt Center student council gave Eftin a new perspective on politics, and he quickly started researching internship opportunities as a way to jumpstart his political future.

With the help of outstanding mentors, Eftin earned a coveted internship with Congressman Chris Stewart in Washington, D.C.

“Many people helped me to prepare for this internship, including Donna Law and Professor Doug Bennett,” said Eftin. “This internship has turned into an opportunity of a lifetime and it was only possible because of the great people at SUU.”

During Eftin’s internship, he’s been able to communicate with constituents, conduct research, help the legislative assistants and correspondents, and give tours of the U.S. Capitol. He was also responsible for writing form letters related to Climate Change, Sage-Grouse, National Defense, Net Neutrality, and Trade.

“I have learned to break out of my comfort zone and introduce myself to people because you never know who can help you in the future,” said Eftin. “I have learned to apply my education to the internship and have gotten better at public speaking and writing.” Abdi Eftin with Congressman Chris Stewart

Eftin will start his senior year at the end of August. He is excited to take his internship experience and connect it back to his studies. He also looks forward to finding other students who could benefit from a D.C. internship.

“SUU and the Leavitt Center have given me this opportunity, and I cannot be more thankful,” said Eftin. “My dreams have come true in this internship and I want to be able to change someone else’s life the way this experience has changed mine.”

Eftin has gained a newfound love for politics. His experience in D.C. will help him with his career goal of becoming an international lawyer.

Visit the Leavitt Center for more information on internships in Washington, D.C.,

Contact Information:
Nikki Koontz, assistant director of marketing
435-586-5487
nikkikoontz@suu.edu