Profile: Zach Woolley
If someone is foolish enough to tell Zach Woolley 'No,' it only spurs him to try harder.
It's that persistence, which he calls stubbornness, that motivated Woolley to continue pursuing the internship of a lifetime. Even after two previous applications were not accepted, Woolley will be a 2013 summer intern for the American Association of People with Disabilities.
"I am a very stubborn person, and it was this internal voice saying, 'I'm not going down like that. If I can make it all the way to the interviews like I did last year, I'll be darned if I'm not going to make it to the last stage this year,'" he said. "I said, 'I'm going to do this and I'm going to do it better than anyone, so let's do it.'"
Not only will Woolley spend 12 weeks of the summer in Washington, D.C., working in congressional offices, federal agencies and non-profit and for-profit organizations, he also will have the opportunity to advocate for other people, like him, who have disabilities.
The political science and philosophy double-major doesn't see his disability, or that of anyone else, as a reason not to work hard. In fact, he faces that challenge as he does all others: with determination, grit and intense desire to succeed.
"There are all types of political theories about civil rights and about women's advocacy, but the disabled political theory field is relatively untapped," Woolley explained. "If I can figure out a way to include the disabled community in spectrums through advocating for us, I think I'll be able to do a lot with that experience helping in the long term."
Woolley, a Hoover, Ala. native, has been to the national capital twice before, but only for quick visits over a few days. He said he's very much looking forward to experiencing the city itself by living and working there.
"It's being involved in everything you see," he said. "It's really just being involved in the mystery that is politics: being involved in the dance and the arts of this mystery. There is a dance to all this. You have to learn how to move; you have to learn how to think. Seeing that whole process is just what I can't wait to get involved with myself."
He was quick to credit both the political science and philosophy departments' faculty for his success; in fact, Woolley loves the Mississippi State atmosphere and culture. He said he's an avid sports fan, too, and he's very proud of the way Dan Mullen has led the Bulldog football team over these past four seasons.
"When you enter this culture, it becomes a part of who you are," he said. "I literally bleed maroon and white. These professors, these people: they always go above and beyond."
Even as he completes his senior year and works as an intern in Washington, D.C., Woolley, like the Mississippi State family, plans to continue to go above and beyond.Writer: Leah Barbour | Photo: Beth Wynn