Christian Arceo grew up in Berwyn with his mom and three younger siblings. He came to Illinois State University to study criminal justice sciences and political science. He was interested in finding an internship in Washington, D.C. as a student, to see if it was a place he’d like to work in the future. His focus on education, immigration, and criminal justice reform made it a great place to jump-start a career.

Arceo shared that the favorite parts of his internship were living in Washington D.C and having the opportunity to work with Congressman Kinzinger of the Illinois 16th District, who is an ISU alumn as well. He likes the big city atmosphere of living in Washington, D.C., and would like to return to work there in the future.

Arceo enjoyed his experience working with Congressman Kinzinger during his summer internship, which happened to be his first choice.“Congressman Kinzinger and I have political values that are closely aligned, so being able to work for someone who I agreed with and was supported was cool,” Arceo said.

For students considering an internship opportunity, he recommends to “really work hard on your application because the application process is the hardest part of getting the job.” Arceo was competing with 100 other applicants for only five spots in his office.

Christian Arceo on Capitol Hill
Christian Arceo on Capitol Hill

Talking about challenges in his internship, Arceo shared  “I was often the only person of color and the only person from a lower socioeconomic status in the room, so it was a struggle to find that confidence within myself. I had to learn to embrace my unique background, and who I am, and how that might help me progress in my career.”

Additionally, he learned more about how Congress works, especially the legislative process.“I think it’s a lot different from what they teach you from the books, or what you read about online, so getting a first-hand experience there was really helpful.”

For his future plans, Arceo aims to work in Washington, D.C. after graduation because “Washington, D.C. is where laws are passed and where policy is made, and everything we do in one way or another in the world is the result of specific policies. I realized that when it comes to education and immigration, there is a lot of reform that the system needs and the only way we can reform those systems is through the new policy. Washington, D.C. is where the action is. I want to be there for my career, and focus on creating policies that improve those areas that are important to me.”