Two Graduating Seniors in Political Science are Completing Spring Internships in DC through the Washington Center Program for Internships and Academic Seminars

Posted by: jrivera on May 9, 2013, No Comments

ESU student Robert Hedden asking a question during one of the sessions at The Washington Center. The discussion centered on charitable activities by corporations and society in general.

internships2ESU student Luis Thomas is pictured with Bill O’Reilly, host of The Factor on Fox News at the White House correspondent scholarship luncheon on April 27. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke to the gathering and a panel of press members discussed social media. Thomas was one of two ESU students serving internships this spring in Washington, D.C., through The Washington Center Program for Internships and Academic Seminars.

Two East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) students, Luis Thomas and Robert Hedden, served as interns in Washington, D.C., this spring through The Washington Center (TWC) Program for Internships and Academic Seminars. Thomas, a senior who is majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law, from Henryville, Pa., was an intern with The Chwat Group, a lobbying and government relations firm. Hedden, a senior who is majoring in political science with a concentration in public administration, from Levittown, Pa., interned with an organization called No Labels, a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and everything in between working together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems (see www.nolabels.org/about-us).  Both students will graduate from ESU in May. The internships, which began in January, took place in Washington, D.C.

During his internship Thomas attended numerous U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate hearings including a Senate hearing on a proposed assault weapons ban. He also conducted extensive research on beer liquor and wine enforcement laws, nursing home abuse, energy, and the implementation of live scan technology in several states. Thomas also participated in a C-SPAN course that airs weekly with many guests which include former U.S Senator and governor of New Hampshire Judd Gregg, U.S. representative for Massachusetts Jim McGovern (D- 2nd Dist.) and Mike McCurry, former press secretary for Bill Clinton. Thomas volunteered in the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School assisting students in learning English. He also attended a panel discussion on Iran at The McCain Institute for International Leadership, which was established with a gift from a charitable trust funded by U.S. Senator John McCain.  Thomas took a Monday night class at the Washington Center titled “C-SPAN: Learning about Congress, the Media, and the Presidency.”

The semester at the Washington center has been a life changing experience,” said Thomas. “I was able to develop my skills and was able to develop professionally.  I learned so much about myself. The experience helped me decide what path I want to take and how to achieve those goals. It is one experience when you learn about the government and how legislation is passed. It is another experience being in the city where it all happens. Additionally, since I worked for a government relations firm, The Chwat Group, I visited Congress and many of the hearings on Capitol Hill. One of the most rewarding experiences was being able to build a network with business professionals and my peers. It is an overall amazing experience being able to speak about issues with others from all around the world and hear so many different perspectives. It is one of the best experiences that the Washington Center provides.”

Internship Experiences for Hedden included multiple meetings with Mike Fitzpatrick U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania (R-8th Dist.). Hedden also lobbied for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, attended policy discussions held by the Center for American Progress, assisted in research efforts for potential No Labels donors, and took a Thursday night class at the Washington Center titled “Issues in Science Policy.”

“It really has been a great experience,” said Hedden. “I met people and did things that I don’t think I could’ve ever done just staying at East Stroudsburg and letting ‘senioritis’ take over my life. I can’t thank Dr. Adams and the state government enough for helping me gain this opportunity. I have seen my work in No Labels actively moving forward to help Congress push past partisanship and gridlock, and my interactions with policy makers like Mr. Fitzpatrick has been an eye-opener to the realities of what being a political leader entails. People always come first.”

Thomas and Hedden are supervised by Kimberly S. Adams, Ph.D., an ESU associate professor of political science and campus liaison to TWC, an educational non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides thousands of students from hundreds of colleges and universities nationally and worldwide with specialized internship opportunities in Washington D.C., and abroad.

“Since 2006, more than thirty ESU students have participated in internships and/or academic seminars sponsored by the Washington Center,” said Dr. Adams. “I’m delighted that Luis and Robert are among ESU/TWC alums.”

For more information about the political science degree programs at East Stroudsburg University or the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, contact Dr. Adams via email at 570-422-3924 or by email at ksadams@esu.edu.