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O’Neill student spends semester in nation’s capital advancing CHIPS and Science Act

Apr 1, 2024

Will Sinciline, an O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs student, seen here in the United States capitol rotunda, is spe... Will Sinciline, an O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs student, seen here in the United States capitol rotunda, is spending a semester in Washington, D.C., supporting the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act. Photo courtesy of U.S. Sen. Todd Young's office

Will Sinciline, a junior in the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, is spending his spring semester interning at U.S. Sen. Todd Young’s Washington, D.C., office, supporting the legislative team as it works to ensure the CHIPS and Science Act is effectively implemented.

Co-sponsored by Young, the law aims to strengthen American manufacturing, supply chains and national security. The bill passed through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022.

Figuring out how the United States can continue to lead the world by innovating and using emerging technologies to improve liv... “Figuring out how the United States can continue to lead the world by innovating and using emerging technologies to improve lives has always been a very inspiring idea to me,” Will Sinciline said. Photo courtesy of U.S. Sen. Todd Young's office“When the president signed the bill, it was just the beginning,” Sinciline said. “There are tons of people working behind the scenes to make the vision of CHIPS a reality. When I applied to be a manufacturing policy intern through O’Neill’s Washington Leadership Program, I saw a unique opportunity to contribute to the mission of CHIPS and future legislation like it.”

The manufacturing policy internship is a new addition to the established Washington Leadership Program. O’Neill juniors and seniors in the program spend a semester living, working and learning in Washington, D.C., while earning Indiana University credits and gaining valuable professional experience.

Doug Wasitis, associate vice president for federal relations at IU, knew that Young is a leader in manufacturing policy and a proponent of the CHIPS and Science Act. So following the act’s passage, Wasitis reached out to the senator’s office with a proposal for the internship.

“U.S. senators have limited resources for hiring staff,” Wasitis said. “Knowing that the O’Neill School has a wealth of expertise and is a leader in manufacturing policy research, it seemed like a great opportunity to find a way to bring that knowledge, through a talented and bright student, to support the senator and his staff as they work to implement this incredibly important legislation.”

Sinciline was encouraged by clinical associate professor Dan Preston, a highly esteemed economic development analyst, to apply to the manufacturing policy internship in Young’s office. Sinciline first met Preston the summer before his freshman year during the Intensive First-Year Seminars program, a rigorous transition to college initiative on the IU Bloomington campus.

“The internship initially caught my eye because I’ve always been interested in manufacturing, specifically the production of advanced technologies,” Sinciline said. “Figuring out how the United States can continue to lead the world by innovating and using emerging technologies to improve lives has always been a very inspiring idea to me. Senator Young led the work on the CHIPS and Science Act, and it’s a bill that the president is very proud of.”

During the internship, he has also worked with the legislative team on research projects such as improving apprenticeship grant systems; sourcing critical minerals that are needed to support advanced technologies, manufacturing and supply chain management; and using the tax code to incentivize research and development.

Will Sinciline sits behind Sen. Todd Young at a U.S. Senate committee hearing as the senator speaks about growing U.S. manufacturing thro... Will Sinciline sits behind Sen. Todd Young at a U.S. Senate committee hearing as the senator speaks about growing U.S. manufacturing through the tax code. Photo courtesy of United States Senate Committee on Finance“We are excited to have Will with us this semester and appreciate his hard work and service to Hoosiers,” Young said. “Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive state in the country, and ensuring our Hoosier workforce has the necessary skills for the future is critical to our state.

“Through this partnership between my office and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IU students will have the opportunity to learn more about federal policies that affect manufacturing and examine how Congress can support Hoosier workers.”

Sinciline said he highly recommends the Washington Leadership Program to O’Neill students.

“You attend O’Neill classes while working in D.C., which empowers you with a great sense of independence,” he said. “The O’Neill School has so many resources and opportunities for students to explore their interests. O’Neill has a large alumni network in Washington, but I didn’t truly realize how big it was until I got here. So far, every D.C. alum I have reached out to has been incredibly generous and willing to discuss my interests and their experiences.”

“As for my career and primary field of interest, I aspire to become an expert in U.S. space policy. In my mind, space policy is a subset of emerging technology policy, and the Washington Leadership Program has provided me with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from experts who work in these areas at a federal level.”

A native of Pennsylvania, Sinciline first considered attending school closer to home. But a tour of the IU Bloomington campus changed everything. When an O’Neill student served as his tour guide, Sinciline learned about the courses, faculty and internship/travel opportunities. Afterward, he said, he ran to the car, opened his laptop and accepted his invitation to IU.

“The school and the state have treated me very well,” Sinciline said. “Looking back on my experience at IU, I feel grateful to have had so many incredible and unique opportunities to continue developing my interests and career.

“The Washington Leadership Program and my internship with Senator Young’s office have provided me with the tools I need to explore my policy interests in a professional setting, and I don’t think I could have gotten this experience anywhere but O’Neill. I’m so thankful to be a Hoosier.”

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Nikki Livingston

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