PIKEVILLE – Many students have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., during their college career but a select few get to call the nation’s capital home. University of Pikeville student Haley Johnson did just that as she spent the spring semester as an intern with The Washington Center (TWC).
The internship program provides a combination of classroom learning with real-world experience. The program includes an internship, an academic course and participation in the LEAD Colloquium, a structured set of activities that enriches student experience and encourages service.
Johnson, who hails from South Point, Ohio, was among more than 600 students from all over the country and around the globe participating in the four-month internship program. She worked four days a week to complete an internship with The Charles Group. Johnson fulfilled her academic requirements and attended a weekly night course for aspiring leaders at The Washington Center.
“The Charles Group acts as a consulting and lobbying agency representing organizations around areas of focus such as law enforcement, homeland security and elderly care,” said Johnson. “As a consultant, they support and represent many organizations, helping them with research and statistics that are necessary in presenting their cases to congress or their political leaders. As a lobbying group, they specifically lobby and represent the causes of the clients they support by talking to our political leaders directly, hoping to influence future actions that support the companies/organizations they represent.”
Johnson’s internship included research and analysis and attending congressional meetings. She also had the opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, including chiefs of staff for Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Laura Bush. Tours of the Newseum, American University Law School and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rounded out the internship.
“I gained an unimaginable amount of experience throughout my time in D.C. I learned how to be professional, work in a real-world setting, and feel more confident about my abilities as a college student preparing for my future,” said Johnson.
Nancy Cade, Ph.D., UPIKE’s liaison to the Washington Center, chair of the division of social sciences and Davenport Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science, has been involved with TWC since 2004 and has served as a faculty leader for 19 Washington Center seminars with more than 60 UPIKE students attending. The Charles Group gave Johnson rave reviews and noted they would love to have more interns from UPIKE. “We are grateful to AT&T for providing a $6,500 scholarship to help students make the dream of attending The Washington Center possible,” said Cade.
Johnson is a member of the UPIKE’s dean’s and president’s lists, a member of the National Honor Society, Chi Omicron Mu communication honor society and the UPIKE Student Government Association. As a student-athlete, she has been named academic all Mid-South Conference for two years and was also named NAIA Volleyball Scholar Athlete. On campus, she works in the admissions office giving tours to prospective students.
Johnson is making the most of the opportunities UPIKE has to offer. “One huge benefit of attending a smaller university is the availability of the faculty and the genuine relationships that can be formed. From those relationships opportunities like this come about,” said Johnson.
Before beginning her internship, Johnson attended TWC’s Inside Washington two-week academic seminar. Johnson will return to the University of Pikeville in the fall and complete her senior year with plans to attend law school after graduation.