|Centre interns descend on D.C.
RELEASED: July 7, 2005
DANVILLE, KYThis summer five ambitious Centre College students are working their Centre connections and gaining valuable career experience as interns in Washington D.C.
"Centre connections go far. I found out this morning that I'm working with a Centre alum, Kimberly Levernier," senior Joanna Henke said after her first day at the office. The majesty of the Capitol is still novel to Henke, who recently started a six-week internship for Senator Jim Bunning. She was excited to receive perks like passes to tour the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and other D.C. must-sees, but is most enthusiastic about the work she'll be doing. She hopes to focus much of her internship on foreign affairs, in preparation for a future in the field of international law.
Senior Melissa Reid and junior Mike Samford are both working for the U.S. Department of Labor. Reid works for Ann Combs, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits, Security Administration division. Because the most important issue for her office is currently pension reform, Reid attends congressional committee hearings on the issue, then prepares briefs of the sessions for her supervisors.
In addition, Reid is doing an independent research project involving the "Wal-Mart Bill," legislation that aims to ensure that companies provide their employees with adequate levels of health care. Pending in state legislatures across the country, the bill is sponsored at the national level as the Health Care Accountability Act. "I have to write a paper which describes the bill in every state, as well as its history and current status, and which discusses the supporters and opponents," Reid explains.
Like Reid, Samford has an independent research project. His project concerns the Family and Medical Leave Act, and involves an examination of the effects of paid family medical leave on businesses, employees, and the general economy. Trading the classroom for the corridors of power in Washington could be intimidating, but Samford explains that his experience at Centrewhere he has worked for the President's office, served as assistant house manager for the Norton Center for the Arts, and taken President Roush's Centreterm leadership seminarhas, in his words, "given me the confidence to complete any task that is placed before me."
Junior Jay Eberle is involved in his second major political internship. Last summer he interned at the district office for Congressman Rob Portman. This summer, he wanted something a little different. Eberle knew he wanted to experience the Washington atmosphere, but he also wanted an internship that would complement his interest in educational policy (he is graduating with a teaching certificate, in addition to his history and government double major). "The position with Lead-America [an organization that encourages the development of leadership skills among middle- and high-school students] appealed to me because I saw an opportunity to incorporate my passion for politics with my passion for teaching," he says. Eberle works as a team leader for the group's Congressional Forum program, where students attend lectures and participate in a congressional simulation that demonstrates how bills become law.
Like Eberle, senior Matt Steinfeld obtained a position that unites politics with his other interests. A long-time staff member and current managing editor of the Cento, the Centre student newspaper, Steinfeld became interested in the marketing and communications field after a media relations internship in Frankfort during CentreTerm of his sophomore year. This summer, Steinfeld is building on that experience through an internship with the Capitol Hill-based marketing and communications firm CAPTEL. Another Centre connection, Phil Smith '75, is CEO of the organization, which specializes in fundraising and marketing development for nonprofit associations and political action committees.
As an intern, Steinfeld is responsible for assisting with fundraising and survey design and implementation, and with the graphic design and creative writing involved in direct mail campaigns. "Public relations is a very diverse field," Steinfeld explains. "You could consider anyone from an event planner to a speech writer to be a public relations specialist. Whatever you do you have to communicate and get your point across, and I think fundraising has been a beneficial way to do that."
The Centre Commitment promises all students who meet the College's academic and social expectations are guaranteed an internship, study abroad, and graduation in four consecutive years, or the College will provide up to a year of additional study tuition free.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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