PVAMU Students Intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
Prairie View A&M University currently has four students working in summer internships in Washington, DC. Kirsten Budwine,a senior political science major, completed an internship in Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s office.Budwine is the inaugural intern for the Capitol Hill Internship Program supported by the Prairie View A&M University DC Alumni Chapter, the PVAMU Foundation, and Career Services. Samuel Parada, a senior political science major, was a student intern for the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. His internship is supported by the Fund for American Studies and the Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences. Antonius Brown, a senior business administration major, completed an internship with the American General Contractors Association, which is a trade association in Washington, DC. Ervin Bryant, a senior history major, completed an internship with the National Campus Leadership Council in Washington, DC. His internship is supported by the Fund for American Studies and the Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to the internships, Parada, Brown, and Bryant are earning course credit and leadership training from George Mason University, which is a public research university in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Panthers on Capital Hill Internship Program was spearheaded by the PVAMU DC alumni chapter under the leadership of alumna Pamela Hodge, President of the National Alumni Association, DC Chapter. Hodge explains, “At the 2017 PVAMF Gala Dr. Ruth Simmons (PVAMU President) said, ‘students are hungry to learn, anxious to excel, and increasingly committed to the path they have chosen.’ We wholeheartedly agree! It is an especially important time in US history to ensure our students are afforded an “uncommon opportunity” as US Congressional interns – to promote preparedness to take their rightful place as our future leaders in public service at the national level.” The alumni wanted to create opportunities for PVAMU students to “get seats at the table” and gain valuable experience in politics and public policy-making. They worked with the PVAMU Foundation and raised funds to support one intern a semester.
Dr. Danny Kelley, Dean of the Marvin D. and June Samuel Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences saw the importance of the program and in providing opportunities to students. He says, “I believe the Panthers on Capitol Hill Internship Program offers students from PVAMU a hands-on experience in the policy-making process whether their placement is with a congressional office or a federal agency or even a non-governmental entity. More importantly, it serves them as a conduit to learn the intricacies of political decision-making at the federal level, as they deal directly with members of Congress, lobbyists, and bureaucrats. In essence, the Program also will help them shape their worldview while providing them with needed clarity on career choices after matriculating from PVAMU.” Kelley was able to help offset some of the program costs associated with Parada and Bryant’s internship.
After earning her degree in political science, Budwine, aLake Charles,Louisiana native, plans on attending law school, specializing in civil law. “This experience has allowed me to see the public policy aspect of the law. Now, in conjunction with being a Civil Rights Attorney, I plan on possibly working for a Non-Governmental Organization, like the NAACP Legal Defense Branch, that shapes areas like Criminal Justice and Education,” shares Budwine. “The program has really given me a better understanding of the legislative process, and how party majority/minority plays a major part into how effective representatives from a particular party can [operate] when it comes to passing legislation. This internship has also encouraged me to step outside of my mind and really get an understanding of why people with opposing ideologies believe what they do.”
Prairie View A&M University’s political science faculty express, “We are so lucky to work with such talented students. They really want to change the world and are well on their way to do that. This summer, they gained valuable work experience, networked with important leaders, and got to learn how public policy works in the real world.”
To support the Panthers on Capitol Hill Program go to the Prairie View A&M Foundation website.
Author: Maurice Perkins