Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Emma Chaiken

Showing off the capitol: During the summer of [2010], I interned in U.S. Senator Susan Collins’s Washington office. Senator Collins [of Maine] likes her staff to give personal tours of the Capitol Building for visiting constituents. For the first two weeks, we [interns] shadowed staff members and took a seminar on the Capitol Building. I made a little booklet of facts about the rooms covered in the tour. I really liked showing constituents around the Capitol; it reminded me of my first visit to Washington when I was much younger, from which I could only remember the “whisper spot” in the Old Hall of Representatives.

Special moment: I’ll never forget supporting Senator Collins in the Fourth of July parade. She loves handing out flag stickers to every child along the parade route. I followed along behind her and made sure every child got a sticker.

Aspirations: Working in Washington, D.C., and being a part of the Collins team, helping Maine constituents with their federal-level issues was an incredible honor that I’ll never forget. I saw how thankful constituents were when we helped them with their Social Security, veterans, housing and other issues. I’m hoping to work in D.C. and eventually help to formulate policies. I’m keeping my options open, because I’ve heard that the best opportunities are ones you don’t plan for.

Conquering fear: I’ve been a diver since I was 8 years old. This was my last season of eligibility to dive competitively, and I was honored to do so for our Swimming and Diving Team. When I came to Wheaton, I had to conquer my fear of heights to dive on the three-meter board. With my coaches and team members cheering me on, I grew to grudgingly accept, and even enjoy, diving off the three-meter board. Now some of my best friends are from the team. I’ve made a life-long friend in my coach, who has helped me improve my coaching skills, maintain my calm and focus, and push myself beyond any limit I thought possible.


Favorite classes? My First Year Seminar, “Current Economic Controversies,” with Professor John Gildea. Professor Gildea convinced me to take more economics courses, and I became enamored with Professor John Miller’s courses on Sweatshops and History of Economic Thought, Professor Phoebe Chan’s Industrial Organization and Public Policy course, and her Senior Seminar, “Topics on Economics and Law.”

Helping others: I’m also a member of a cluster in the Beard residence hall, Intellectual Learning Internationally. Through my cluster, we raise money for a girl in Juarez, Mexico, to help her go to school.

–Amanda DeGroff ’12