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WVU students selected for legislative internships

Eleven students from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University have been selected to intern at the West Virginia State Legislature this semester. 

The interns were selected through a competitive application process and will assist legislators in their daily activities. Participants will gain first-hand knowledge from the 60-day legislative session, which runs from Jan. 10 through March 10.

Rollins-Burk Internship

Lonnie Long and Mikael Huffman, graduate students in the Master of Public Administration program, were selected as Rollins­-Burk Interns.

Rollins-Burk Interns conduct research to inform policymaking, monitor legislative activity and assist in preparation for floor deliberations.

Long, from Parkersburg, West Virginia, has been placed with the House of Delegates Committee on Government Organization.

“Public administration is the study of policy implementation and the practical applications for public servants. My committee is primarily responsible for the regulation and oversight of state bureaucracies,” Long said. “They go together tremendously well to give me new insight as to just how agencies operate, and how the legislature plays a role in directing not only their goals, but also the framework they have to operate in.”

Due to his father being a member of the West Virginia Army National Guard, Long has aspired to be an active participant in politics since he was a child. In the future, he hopes to work alongside nonprofit organizations and think tanks or help with implementation of successful and accurate legislation.

“I believe this opportunity will let me grow as a person and a West Virginian. I always enjoy meeting new people from new background and beliefs,” Long said. “Working in the Capitol gives me a chance to meet more of my fellow West Virginians and understand their concerns, hopes and struggles.”

Huffman, from Dunbar, West Virginia, aspires to use her background in marine science to work in science policy.

“I came into the public administration field interested to see how science and policy blend. Policy and research analysts play a huge role in bill drafting and policy change,” Huffman said. “I see this program adding a functional piece to my professional development. I will have the knowledge to read and understand the research behind science-related policy.”

Christopher Plein, the Eberly Family Professor for Outstanding Public Service, is the WVU contact for Rollins-Burk Interns.

Judith A. Herndon Fellowship

As Herndon Fellows, Sam Ollis, Allie Hildebrand and Morgan Wilkes have been assigned to assist a legislator from the State Senate or House of Delegates throughout the 2018 legislative session.

Ollis is a junior international studies major with a minor in law and legal studies from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was also selected to participate as a Frasure-Singleton Intern in the 2017 legislative session.  

“The value of the experience and knowledge I am receiving from this internship is immeasurable,” Ollis said. “The inside access to politicians and policy makers is critical to professional networking and genuine understanding of the legislative process.”

Hildebrand is a senior communication studies major with minors in public relations and law and legal studies from Huntington, West Virginia. Although Hildebrand does not see herself running for public office in the future, she does have an interest in working behind the scenes in government.  

“This internship is an incredible experience,” Hildebrand said. “I am a native West Virginia resident, and this fellowship has really opened my eyes to how the state government works.”

Wilkes, from Beckley, West Virginia, is studying economics and political science at WVU. She sees also sees the internship as a way to build a foundation for her professional career.

“It is already evident to me that the skills, knowledge and network that I have had an opportunity to build here will help foster a vibrant professional career for me and my fellow interns,” Wilkes said. “Being able to build real, tangible professional skills while still in college has opened my eyes to endless possibilities for my future career.”

In addition to familiarizing with the politics of legislation, Herndon Fellows perform legislative research to aid in bill drafting, and develop an understanding of the role and function of committees and the executive-legislative liaison.

Associate Professor of Political Science Jason MacDonald is the WVU faculty contact for the Herndon Fellowship and the Frasure-Singleton Internship.

Frasure-Singleton Internship

Six students from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will serve as Frasure-Singleton Interns for one week during the 2018 legislative session. Students from the Department of Political Science include Steven Murphy from Palmer, Alaska; Abbas Mahar from Kearneysville, West Virginia; Ashlyn Ramsay from Augusta, West Virginia; Dominic Dichiacchio from Morgantown, West Virginia; and Brandon Callahan from Summersville, West Virginia. Shaniyah Jasper, from Iselin, New Jersey, is studying women’s and gender studies.

Kayla Asbury and Emily Stern, students in the Reed College of Media, as well as College of Business and Economics student Madison White, are also serving as Frasure-Singleton Interns this semester. 

The Frasure-Singleton interns are assigned a specific state senator or delegate and participate in committee meetings and public hearings, conduct issue-based research and other legislative tasks.