Baylor Interns Explore Life Inside the Beltway

  • News Photo 3568
    West Wing Press Room. Participants, l to r: Dr. Curry, Victoria Vickery, Phillip Bujanda, Ponce Duran, Elaine Yeung, Kevin Goll, Audrey Plumlee, Sarah Greer, Zach Dietert, Lauren Micek, Casey Watts.
  • News Photo 3569
    Hart Senate Office Building; Program dealing with life in the United States Senate: Participants, l to r, Jennifer Heath, Ryan Miller, Katie Weiss, Victoria Vickery, Phillip Bujanda, Stephanie Formas, Audrey Plumlee, Ponce Duran, Lauren Micek, Courtney Forsell, Sara Smith
  • News Photo 3567
    Lunch and Program at the Financial Services Roundtable. Participants, l to r: Elaine Yeung, Phillip Bujanda, Victoria Vickery, Audrey Plumlee, Lauren Micek, Ponce Duran, Katie Weiss, Anna Van Lier, Rob Engstrom, Brad Bennett, Collin Cox, Peter Sandel.
  • News Photo 3566
    Outside the West Wing in the Rose Garden area. Participants, l to r: Victoria Vickery, Elaine Yeung, Audrey Plumlee, Lauren Micek, Sarah Greer, Dr. Curry
June 8, 2006

by Julie Carlson, (254) 710-6681

A number of Baylor students will experience life inside the Beltway this summer as interns for U.S. congressmen, governmental and non-governmental organizations and other businesses in the private sector. Through the university's Washington Internship Program, eight students will learn the ins and outs of working in D.C., will network with Baylor alumni and will earn class credit for doing so.

Dr. James Curry, the Bob Bullock Professor of Public Policy and Administration and director of the Washington program, says the Washington Internship program has been a staple at Baylor for at least 25 years and has sent literally hundreds of students to Washington over the years.

The program kicked off on Thursday, June 8, with the Poage/Mayborn Washington seminar, a two-day event in which participants meet with Baylor alumni who work for the government, NGOs and private-sector businesses and organizations in D.C. The seminar is named for longtime Central Texas Congressman Bob Poage and for civic leader and publisher Frank W. Mayborn.

The students will attend sessions on such topics as Working in Washington, Working on Capitol Hill presented from both the congressional and staff perspective, Working on Public Policy and Bridging the Public and Private Sectors. They also will take an insider's tour of the West Wing, given by Baylor alumnae Sarah Greer and Casey Watts.

Most of the seminar's sessions will be conducted by Baylor alumni. In fact, four former student body presidents - Edward Brigham (Dept. of Transportation), Russ Sullivan (Senate Finance committee), Gannon Sims (State Department), Collin Cox (Williams & Connolly) - will help with the program.

"Our alums are invaluable," Curry said. "We have approximately 30 alumni who will be involved in the seminar, and I have probably another 20 or so who have volunteered to help. I believe our alumni in D.C. are probably some of our most loyal and helpful anywhere. I could not put together a program without their help."

When the students complete the seminar, they will begin their internships for such diverse groups as the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, the Organization of Chinese Americans, the Republican Youth Majority and Gingrich Communications, as well as Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, Pete Sessions, Chuck Hagel and Mike Conaway. Most students stay at least half the summer, others the entire summer.

"I think the Washington Internship Program is one of Baylor's strongest assets," Curry said. "It is a life-changing experience for our students, but it also allows us to maintain close ties with our alumni, many of whom are operating in positions of considerable influence and importance.

"These people serve as mentors, role models and contacts for our students who go to Washington for the summer. I think it is interesting and significant to note that a large percentage of the Baylor alums living and working in Washington were interns themselves while at Baylor. We have had students working for many different senators and representatives, some in the White House, others in executive agencies such as the Department of Labor, and some in the Supreme Court."

Washington interns, who must work at least five weeks, can earn three semester hours of credit. Five of the current students participating in the program have been designated Mayborn Scholars and will receive tuition and a stipend while working in Washington, D.C. The five Mayborn Scholars are Philly Bujanda, Lauren Micek, Audrey Plumlee, Katie Weiss and Victoria Vickery.

In recent years, Baylor students have interned for such government agencies as the FBI, Smithsonian Institution, The White House and Department of the Air Force. Internships also are available in the private sector for organizations such as the Baptist Joint Committee, the Republican National Committee, the Sierra Club and the Heritage Foundation.

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