Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Under the Dome" gives high school students an insider look at state government

Almost 50 high school students from central Illinois got a behind the scenes look inside the Illinois state capitol during the “Under the Dome” event on March 8, 2011.

“Under the Dome” is the University of Illinois Springfield’s premier immersion event for high school juniors interested in government, politics, and public service. The day of activities is designed to highlight careers in state government and talk about the degrees necessary to enter the field.

“It’s really not your typical tour of the capitol. We bring in a panel of students and alumni to talk about their experience at UIS, what they got to do, and what they got to accomplish,” said Joan Sestak, UIS Director of Community Relations.

Students not only got the chance to hear from alumni working in state government, but elected officials who attended UIS. Representative Wayne Rosenthal, a republican from the 98th District graduated in 1974.

“I think anytime we can provide educational opportunities and get kids involved in the process I think is good,” said Rosenthal.

UIS relies on the hundreds of alumni working in state government to help provide students with the behind the scenes tour. Students got the opportunity to meet with State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and talk with IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig, just to name a few during the 2011 tour.

“I think today is wonderful. I’ve gotten a lot of insight about what actually goes on behind the scenes in the senate and the house,” said Miles Crisp, a junior at Springfield’s Southeast High School. “I feel like instead of just reading it in the book or a textbook I actually know what really goes on.”

Crisp was thinking about a career in state government even before attending “Under the Dome”, but he wanted more information about the profession.

“This whole experience has taught me that and I think I might just go into a career dealing with politics,” said Miles.

For other students, such as Sacred Heart-Griffin High School junior Helen Cavanagh the day was spent learning more about state government in general.

“As a resident of Springfield, I want to know what’s better for me, what’s in the future, what’s in the future for my parents and if I can come and learn about what’s going on then that just makes me happier,” said Cavanagh.

UIS has hosted the “Under the Dome” event for the past three years. For more information on the next “Under the Dome” event visit

No comments: