Capitol Interns

2016 Student Capitol Interns as 6.jpg

Front Photo (l-to-r): Samantha Felker (Political Science), Katie Clinton (International Affairs),…

Georgia (Mar 7, 2016)

Front Photo (l-to-r): Samantha Felker (Political Science), Katie Clinton (International Affairs), Carley Cole (Political Science), LaMaya Edmonds (Political Science), Richard Sykes (Political Science), Petra Simpson (Integrative Studies), Anna Edmondson (Political Science), Akos Wiafe (Political Science/Psychology), Raheem Igbadume (Political Science). Not in photo: Mandisa Holmes (Political Science), Shonna Morgan (Political Science), Jacqlynn Klein (International Affairs), and Nicholas Greer (Political Science)

KENNESAW, Ga. (March 7, 2016) — Each weekday morning during the 2016 Georgia legislative session – before many undergraduates have even started hitting their snooze buttons – 13 Kennesaw State University students brave rush hour traffic to spend the day immersed in the world of politics at the State Capitol in downtown Atlanta.

 
These students are Georgia legislative interns, selected to participate in a unique program through which they receive academic credit along with a weekly stipend. More importantly, the Georgia Legislative Internship Program (GLIP) gives college students from across Georgia an entree into the state’s exciting and dynamic lawmaking process.
 
Interns have a variety of placement options, including leadership offices in the state House or Senate, legislative committees, or offices that support the activities of the legislature. Duties typically include helping with administrative tasks, such as answering phones, making copies, and handling paperwork. Many interns also assist with the logistics of legislative committee meetings, and all of them rub elbows with countless constituents, lobbyists, political luminaries, and even celebrities – like Miss America 2016 and rap star Ludacris – who grace the halls of the Capitol during the 40-day legislative session that by law begins on the second Monday in January.
 
Jessica McCrary, career and internship advisor at KSU, says GLIP is a wonderful learning opportunity that helps prepare students for success after graduation.
 
“Legislative interns get to experience a working government and how it operates at the state level,” McCrary said. “They get exposure to different industries and professions, as well as key contacts in a variety of fields.”
 
Participants agree that legislative internships help them bridge the gap between academia and the real world.
 
“You can endlessly study politics and government in the classroom, but there is nothing quite like working in this environment,” said Carley Cole, an intern in the Senate Research Office.  
 
In addition to the hands-on political experience, interns develop skills beneficial to their professional futures.
 
Intern Richard Sykes works with three House committees related to his interests in environmental advocacy: Natural Resources and Environment; Agriculture and Consumer Affairs; and Game, Fish, and Parks. According to Sykes, the internship has also strengthened his communications skills. “My confidence has increased tenfold,” Sykes said.
 
Anna Edmondson, assigned to the office of Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), is having a similar experience. “I’ve gotten better at talking to new people and introducing myself,” she said. “My time at the Capitol is definitely raising my confidence and self-esteem.”
 
Raheem Igbadume said his internship in the fast-paced House Rules Committee has helped him “learn to work very quickly and efficiently without asking many questions, which has become a valuable asset.”
 
Legislative internships can be stepping stones to exciting careers for many KSU alumni. Ike Duru, a 2015 KSU graduate, now works as constituent services specialist in the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
 
“My legislative internship put a ‘stamp of approval’ on my resume that I believe directly led to my current position,” Duru said. “The experience was invaluable and opened up so many doors for me.”
 
A majority of the current legislative interns from Kennesaw State are political science or communication majors, but the opportunity is available to all undergraduate juniors or seniors, regardless of their majors. The Career Services Center at the University hosts an informational session for prospective applicants in September, prior to the spring semester during which the internship takes place. McCrary encourages all interested students to attend.
 
“The program offers something for just about everyone, as many legislative committees and subcommittees deal with issues relevant to a wide range of disciplines, including healthcare, business, education, and criminal justice,” McCrary said.
 
Applicants to the program must submit a comprehensive application packet that includes an essay, three letters of reference, a resume, and a college transcript. The second round of the application process includes an interview, and accepted students are notified of their status in late fall.
 
Despite early morning wake-up calls and the tough commute downtown, the rewards of the internship are well worth it. Mandi Holmes, an intern in the office of Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta), has found her niche under the Gold Dome, and she hopes to build a career there.
 
“I have never worked so hard, been so tired, and yet been so excited to get up the next day and do it all over again,” Holmes said.
 
-- June Newton
 
-- Photo credit: David Caselli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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