From Campus to Capitol Hill

Political science student interns in Washington, D.C.
Written by: 
Katie Neumann
Butoyi Gadi
Butoyi Gadi

Butoyi Gadi's first introduction to politics was the 2016 presidential election. After losing a $10 bet with a friend about who would win, he went down the rabbit hole of polls and analytics.

Now, he walks the halls of the most powerful government in the world.

Gadi's work ethic and charismatic nature helped him get accepted into the North Texas in D.C. program. Last fall, he interned for U.S. Congressman Colin Allred, the representative for Texas' 32nd congressional district -- which includes Gadi's Dallas neighborhood of Vickery Meadow. His daily life consisted of answering constituents' phone calls, writing memos, taking notes in briefings and giving tours of the Capitol campus.

"They call Washington, D.C., 'L.A. for nerds,' and I love that," Gadi says. "I fell in love with the architecture, and just being in proximity to people who are making big decisions that impact our everyday lives was incredible."

Gadi, a junior political science major at UNT, was only 5 years old when he immigrated to America. Born in a refugee camp to a single mother in western Tanzania, he worked hard to acclimate to the culture while his family put down roots in America.

During his time on campus, Gadi has worked as an orientation leader and student coordinator on the orientation team. He says the experience of helping new students transition to UNT has taught him valuable leadership and communication skills.

Gadi's favorite class was Campaigns and Elections, which is where he first learned about the NTDC program.

He credits his political science professors Nichole Gligor and Gloria Cox for mentoring him during the application process and says his orientation program supervisor, Shaun Holloway, also inspired him.

Gadi, who is expected to graduate in spring 2025, plans to return to Washington after graduating with the goal of working on Capitol Hill or at a nonprofit. Once considered an unreachable dream as a refugee, he now realizes it is within his grasp.

"This opportunity broke down a wall of doubt when it comes to how I feel about achieving things," he says.

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