Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Under the Dome teaches students about careers in state government

High school students from around Illinois got a behind the scenes look at state government during the University of Illinois Springfield's annual "Under the Dome" day on April 8, 2014.

“They see how bills get passed, how they get introduced, how lobbyists work, and how staffers work,” said Joan Sestak, UIS director of community relations. “It gives them an opportunity to see in-depth what it’s like to work in state government.”

The students started their day at UIS where they boarded buses to the Illinois State Capitol. Once they arrived, they took a tour, learned about the legislative process, and met with lawmakers.

“Especially for someone like me, who wants to go into politics, it is a way to really keen my interest in coming to something like this. It’s really an opportunity to understand what’s going on in state government,” said Austin Straley, a student Chicago’s Gordon Tech College Prep.

What makes the tour unique is the access UIS alumni provide and the knowledge they share with high school students during their visit.

“They wouldn’t get this experience on a normal tour of the capitol. Our alumni work with us and are able to take them back behind the scenes,” said Sestak.

Rochester High School student Kara Kestner has been to the capitol before, but for her Under the Dome was a unique experience.

“Today has been made special by the attention students are getting,” said Kestner. “It’s a one of a kind experience. You can’t get this in a classroom or just on a regular tour.”

The day is also designed to highlight the abundance of opportunities to study state government at UIS, while showcasing experienced faculty members.

“What we hope they really take away is that they look at careers in public service. That they think about those things they could study as they get ready to enter college,” said Sestak.

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

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