Front Photo (l-to-r): Samantha Felker (Political Science), Katie Clinton (International
(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
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
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 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 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. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.