Osabohien (Osa) Oduwa ’23 loves to talk politics. (Just ask his family and friends, he jokes.) Oduwa doesn’t bring the subject up all the time, and when he does, he takes care to be respectful of individuals whose opinions differ from his own. However, he is incredibly curious about the world around him and how decisions made at all levels of government impact people’s daily lives, hopefully for the better. Oduwa’s interest in politics was instilled in him by his parents, Felix and Marvis, and further nurtured during his time at Le Moyne. It wasn’t until this summer, though, that he found himself truly immersed in the field that is sometimes referred to as “the arena.”
A political science major from Utica, N.Y., Oduwa served as an intern in the Syracuse office of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. He worked on a variety of daily tasks, including communicating with constituents, compiling newspaper clippings for the senator and, on occasion, staffing press conferences the senator held locally. It was from this perch that Oduwa witnessed the Senate pass two pieces of legislation that are likely to impact his generation for decades to come: the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, which address technology security and a range of health care, tax and climate issues, respectively. Yet the most rewarding and memorable part of his work by far was communicating with the members of the public who reach out to Sen. Schumer and helping them however he could. It may have been a senior citizen who was being mistreated by his landlord, a busy professional who was trying to resolve an issue with her tax return, or a new American with a question about his immigration status.
These interactions could be emotionally and mentally taxing, Oduwa acknowledged. (“When people are talking to you about some of the most important things in their lives, you want to make sure you are 100 percent present for them,” he said.) However, they also taught him that, at its core, politics is about the everyday, the seemingly ordinary, mundane things we often take for granted but which allow us to live the lives of our choosing. To that end, Oduwa does not mind that much of the work done in the political sphere, the prioritizing and the deal making, the managing of expectations and priorities, takes place behind the scenes. He is well aware that the person who lays the cornerstone doesn’t always see the completion of the cathedral. It hasn’t put a damper on his aspirations, though. Following his graduation from Le Moyne, he plans to attend law school. Then, perhaps one day he will run for the U.S. Senate himself. He will turn the requisite age of 30 in 2031.
“I love my country,” he says. “This is my home. There are just some things we need to fix.”
This story is part of a series on Le Moyne students who completed internships in a variety of fields, including politics, risk management and insurance, and media, during the summer of 2022. Le Moyne's Office of Career Advising and Development works closely with students to help them find these kinds of opportunities, which will serve them well post-graduation.