Political Science

My Political Science Experience

Willie Lyles, III

Political Science

Lyles III, WillieIn 2006, Willie Lyles, III (2006) graduated from Winthrop University with a B.A. in Political Science. In 2008, Willie accepted an opportunity to work for The Honorable James E. Clyburn, the Assistant Democratic Leader in the United States House of Representatives and within an 18-month time period was promoted to Legislative Assistant advising Congressman Clyburn on education, agriculture, and defense.

During the 2012 campaign season, Congressman Clyburn sent Willie to work for the General William L. Enyart to ensure his election to Congress, an opportunity that would lead him to become the Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Enyart. In his role, Willie served as a senior advisor to the Representative creating legislative policy, leading and supervising a legislative team and making vote recommendations for the Congressman on legislation before the United States House of Representatives.
Recently, Willie received his Juris Doctorate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Law. Willie was an active member of the law school community, serving several organizations, including the Student Bar Association, the Black Law Student Association, President of the Law School Democrats, Vice President of Administrative Affairs for the Graduate and Professional Student Council and Convener of the Carbondale Pipeline Working Group (CPWG). CPWG was formed from an idea, for which Willie won a scholarship, to create an intergenerational pipeline, encouraging young people from minority communities to seek careers in the legal profession.

 This work has led to amazing partnerships including one between the SIU Law School and the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. In 2017, Willie was named one of 25 "National Law Students of the Year" by Jurist Magazine, in recognition of his work on the intergenerational pipeline initiative at SIU Law. "My experience at Winthrop gave me the foundation I needed to be where I am today. Without the mentorship and push to do better from my professors, I don't think I would be prepared to work in my field today."