The academic school year ends, but students in the Eberly College never stop learning.
Each summer, many students choose to brighten their futures and expand their education by completing summer internships.
These are their stories.
Story by Mike Atkinson
Photo provided by Stephen Scott
Stephen Scott, Junior
Hometown: Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Major: Political Science and Multidisciplinary Studies
Minor: Leadership Studies, Communication Studies, and History
How he’s spending his summer: Interning for U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV at the United States Capitol
What was it like growing up in Shepherdstown?
Living in Shepherdstown has been pretty interesting. The area is spectacular because it is full of old monuments and places that highlight the historical significance of the town. Because of this, the town does not have many stores or “hang-out” spots for kids besides The Wall in Downtown Shepherdstown. I remember every Friday in middle school all my friends and I would go Downtown and just sit on this long brick wall, which became known as The Wall.
Over the years, the town started expanding in population and construction. Recently, Dairy Queen has been constructed in the town and everyone went crazy about it. Now, when I go home, my friends and I go to Dairy Queen as the new “hang-out” spot.
Are there any particular experiences or interesting stories about the city, or growing up there you could share?
A majority of my family lives in and around Shepherdstown, which allowed me to spend a lot of quality time over the summer with my cousins. One summer, when I was ten, one of my favorite cousins, Angel, and I went to the pool at Memorial Park in Martinsburg, ten minutes outside of Shepherdstown. This was a usual thing for us, as we would jump and swim in the “big kids pool.”
This day was special, as the local newspaper was there to take pictures of community members enjoying the pool. I guess the cameramen thought our cannon balls were worthy of gracing the front cover of the newspaper, because Angel and I were asked for a picture. To this day, I still have that picture of us, holding hands as we jumped into the pool. Good times.
So what led you to WVU?
During high school, I knew attending college in state was the best option for me. WVU and Concord were my only two choices.
I went to visit WVU. I felt like I could make Morgantown my home for the next four years and enjoy my time at WVU. The city lifestyle, the large amount of people, and the welcoming atmosphere sunk me into deciding to attend WVU.
And how did you know WVU was right for you? once you were here?
The students, faculty, and staff for sure! My first semester here I was nervous and very scared to fail. Not only failing myself, but also failing my mom, my nana, and several other people, who made it possible for me to attend college.
I struggled in some of my courses and I struggled to get involved at the University; however, I was able to overcome these struggles with the help of other students and a couple faculty and staff members. Everyone here is so willing to help each other out. This giving nature makes me feel at ease. I have a support system away from home that I can go to and confide in whenever I need it.
Can you share a few experiences you’ve had while you were at WVU? Maybe something you’ll never forget that happened at WVU?
I got a chance to have dinner with President Gee and had the opportunity to take several selfies with him and one of my good friends, Joy Wang.
I have had the pleasure of experiencing two wins during election night with Student Government. I have been able to spend a couple Friday nights celebrating different countries in the International House. The laser tag Up All Night program was a bunch of fun with my residents. I have enjoyed teaching the freshman orientation course and tutoring students throughout the year.
How did you hear about your internship?
I knew several of my friends had interned for Senator Rockefeller last summer and I wanted to do the same. I was waiting and waiting to see or to hear about the application being opened, but I did not see or hear anything for a while. So, I stopped thinking about it, until Spring Break hit.
One day during Break, I thought I should do some investigation on the application and realized I only had a couple of days to complete it. I was kind of scrambling to get it together because I could not believe I almost missed the deadline. I contacted my lifesaver and former professor, Amy Cyphert, to see if she could possibly write me a letter of recommendation.
Within no time at all, Amy typed-up my recommendation. I have no idea what I would have done without Amy’s help. She is the best! I owe her big time! Because of her, I was able to fully complete my application. A few weeks later, I got the call and now I am one of Senator Rockefeller’s interns.
What will you be doing at this internship?
I’m one of Senator Rockefeller’s four interns for the entire month of July. It’s been nice to have three other people, who you get to share this experience with in D.C.
I knew I would be doing research, drafting letters and memos, attending hearing and briefings in specific legislative areas, and performing other miscellaneous administrative tasks. In addition, I have been archiving really old documents, files, and memorabilia related to Senator Rockefeller’s tenure in office. It is amazing to see Senator Rockefeller’s work and accomplishments, throughout his tenure, for the wellbeing of West Virginia and the country as a whole.
What do you hope to accomplish with this internship?
I want to know how the Senate operates. What is the average day in the life of a Senator? How much influence do Senate staffers have in the office? During this month, I have received the answers to these questions and then some.
The Senate never stops. The Senators and their staff members are constantly working on important issues within each state and the entire country. If anyone has the chance to intern or to work in D.C., you definitely should do it! Your perceptions and your ideas of how the federal government operates will be changed dramatically! On top of that, you might get to meet some famous government officials! I could not believe I got to meet supreme court justice Elena Kagan, former West Virginia governor Bob Wise, and of course senator John D Rockefeller IV.
What are your career goals? What do you want to do after you graduate?
I’m planning on diving into the legal field as a lawyer a couple years from now. There are several different types of law I am interested in, one of which being family law. Once in law school, I feel like I will eventually be set in one specific aspect of law if not more!
How will this internship help you achieve those goals?
I am seeing firsthand how the law is created before it is interpreted. I am not just talking about through the House and the Senate, but the researching of an issue, the drafting of bills, the markup on these bills, the conference meetings and the sponsorship process.
It has left me in awe of the work our elected officials do “behind the scenes”. I think I can now walk away from this internship understanding why wording and interpretation in different pieces of law can be so specific or so broad, because members of Congress did their very best to jump through countless hoops to enact the current laws we have today.
Do you have a favorite professor at WVU?
I don’t have one favorite professor at WVU. I would say I have a top five. This list is in no particular order:
Marie Leichliter: she has supported me since day one at WVU and I appreciate everything she has done for me throughout my college career
Amy Cyphert: one of the kindest, caring, and most interesting individuals I have ever met who is so captivating in the classroom
Patrick Hickey: his intro to American government class gave me such a solid foundation of knowledge to do well in all of my political science courses and college as a whole.
Nicholas Bowman: he is really engaged with his students and constantly challenges them to do better.
Elizabeth Thomas: she made me interested in the study of environmental biology and issues facing our environment today, not to forget that she looks a lot like Tina Fey!
Do you have any experiences from his/her class that you can
I would say taking Amy (Cyphert’s) Supreme Court Today course was full of several memories! She taught the course as if she was teaching a group of her law students. In the class, I read Supreme Court briefs, listened to oral arguments, lead the class discussion for the day, researched legal topics through Lexius Nexius, and presented an analysis of a current Supreme Court case.
In addition, I was able to talk to some of Amy’s friends and colleagues, who had ties to the Supreme Court, such as our own President Gee who was a judicial fellow for Chief Justice Warren Burger. This was such an intensive class. I’m so glad I took it!
Would you say that was your favorite class? If not, what was?
Yes, I would say the course was my favorite, because I felt as if I was getting a small taste of what law school was going to be in the future. I loved every minute of it! It makes me look forward to law school even more now!
Take Five with Stephen
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m usually doing one of four things. One, I’m getting a Route 44 size slushy from my favorite fast food restaurant, Sonic. Two, I’m buying a large Black Jack Bubble Tea with extra bubbles from Lavender’s. Third, I’m playing board games or cards with my friends. Last, I’m listening to the sweet melodies of my celebrity crush, Nicki Minaj.
Do you have any pets?
Sadly, I don’t. At the end of my freshman year, my dog, Spot, died. I really want to get another dog. Most likely I will get a bulldog, because they are so fat, wrinkly, and lazy that I find it pretty precious.
What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?
I don’t really have a favorite ice-cream flavor, but I do love Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia!
What’s one thing you’ll never forget about WVU?
Again, I love the people here so much! Especially those who are or were working in the Honors College like Keith Garbutt, Christine Garbutt, Marie Leichliter-Krause, Amy Cyphert, Ryan Claycomb, Lisa Verlinden, and Vickie Sigley!
Where is your favorite place in Morgantown, or at WVU?
My favorite place in Morgantown is at 361 Suncrest Towne Centre Dr., Sonic.
Want to be featured in our summer series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with details about your internship.