RELEASED: April 21, 2005
DANVILLE, KYFor graduating seniors, the next few weeks are like riding a runaway train. They're wrapping up classes, saying good-bye to friends and professors, trying to relish the last few college days, and figuring out where the next stop will take them. Centre College Senior Ben Monarch's train is taking him straight to the nation's capital.
Monarch, a double major in economics and government from Hardinsburg, Ky., is heading to Washington, D.C., to be U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell's personal assistant for the next year.
Monarch will handle the senator's schedule, moderate phone calls and help the senator address the concerns of Kentucky constituents. He might also travel with the senator when he visits the Kentucky men and women serving in Iraq.
After volunteering during the senator's re-election campaign and working with his administration two summers as an intern, the call last January asking Monarch to come in for an interview was a pleasant surprise. Two interviews laterthe second was one-on-one with the senatorMonarch received the news that he had landed the position.
"When the second most powerful man in the U.S. Senate calls and says, 'Do you want to work for me?' it's kind of hard not to say 'yes'," Monarch says.
He adds this position will not only keep him on his toes, but also provide him with an opportunity learn more about U.S. government.
"I'm nervous but excited as well. This is a tremendous learning experience," he says. "I'm looking forward to picking his brain late in the evenings when it's just me and him. He's been in the Senate for two decadesthrough the fall of communism and through two wars. I want to see how his mind operates and get more of his take on thingsmore than you'd see watching CNN in the evenings."
Monarch says his Centre education was essential in preparing him for the job.
During his interview, McConnell asked him to comment on political happenings and to talk about their effect. "I think I provided more insight than someone who hadn't studied government at Centre," Monarch says. "Centre prepared me to see and utilize potential opportunities, and it gave me a thorough understanding of what politics is all about."
After working for the McConnell administration for a year, Monarch plans to attend business or law school and pursue a career in law or government.
"I'm not ready to graduate," he says. "I can list a million reasons to stay at Centre. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I'll never get to be a college student again, and there's no better place to be a college student than Centre."
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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/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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