Forging a path from student senator to policy maker

By Yvie Croninger ’25

When Adam Dettmer ’24 was looking at college options he was encouraged to choose Wartburg, like many of his family members. Ultimately, Dettmer chose Wartburg because of the opportunities to get involved while pursuing his degree.

He came to Wartburg as a pre-med major but eventually decided the social sciences were a better fit. Today, Dettmer is a political science and international relations major, treasurer of the Asian Student Association, the administrative ombudsperson for Wartburg Student Senate, and a member of Wartburg Castle Singers, all while also working in the Peer Learning Lab as a an assistant in the Writing, Seading, and Speaking Lab.

“My first year in Student Senate I was elected to be the representative for Clinton Hall’s second floor. In my second year, I served as a senator for Lohe’s second floor before being selected to be the administrative ombudsperson,” Dettmer said. “Originally, I did it because I thought it would be a good way to get connected on campus, especially due to covid restrictions. The experience has helped me become familiar with more people on campus as well as given me some good friends from outside of my classes.

“I love being friends with people in my classes because we have interests in common, but my activities are just another way I can meet people. For instance, I eat dinner with people I am in choir with every day and have lunch with other senate members after meetings,” he said.

Adam Dettmer

Dettmer’s experiences at Wartburg, especially in his role as the administrative ombudsperson, has prepared him for his future. He is currently applying to graduate schools to continue his studies in international relations in hopes of working with nongovernment agencies (NGOs) or think tanks and doing research to assist in making policies for less developed countries.

“Policy making requires great communication skills, and part of influencing any policy requires an understanding of how each group could feel toward the policy. Student senate and ASA have both allowed me to learn this communication aspect of policy making,” he said.

He credits the support of political science professors Dr. Bret Billet and Dr. Andrew Szarejko as well as Lindsey Leonard, associate dean of community life, with helping him find the value in his academic and extracurricular goals.

Regardless of the experience, Dettmer is always looking for new ways to build community at Wartburg.

“I remember last January when we had a snowstorm, people from across campus decided to go out and have a snowball fight. It reminded me of being a kid again, having a snow day off from school, but this time it was the middle of the night and huge snowballs were made and pushed in front of the student center,” said Dettmer.

Another favorite memory involving snow was the last home football playoff game of 2023 when it started snowing.

“That game was really fun because it was so close in the end and being around everyone including the team and fans was a great experience,” he said.