The Virginia Commonwealth University Capital Semester internship program places Virginia college students in legislative and executive offices to gain insight on the inner-workings of state government.
Students from around the commonwealth and in a variety of different areas of studies also enroll in a seminar class to supplement the semester-long internship.
“Many legislators were able to utilize our knowledge to reach individuals in our generation to inform them on important issues in government,” said VCU junior Ericka Battle.
Battle interned with Del. Jeion A. Ward from the 92nd district of Hampton, Va., and assisted him during the session when he passed the “A Place of My Own” Foster Care bill.
“Initially, I entered the internship with some preconceived notions about the legislative process,” said Lindsey Blackwell, a University of Virginia senior who interned for Del. Robert B. Bell. “The Capital Semester experience really showed me that our representatives listen and respond to constituent concerns.”
Blackwell still interns for Del. Bell in his Charlottesville, Va., district office, working on the campaign process for the upcoming election.
“The Capital Semester program has led to other opportunities and opened more doors beyond the session internship,” she said.
The General Assembly’s 45-day session adjourned on Feb. 28, 2009, and reconvened on April 8 to consider the Governor’s action on legislation from the regular session.
“Capital Semester has been a major highlight of my college experience,” said VCU junior Stephen Staus, who interned with Del. John O’Bannon.
Virginia Capital Semester, a program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is open to all Virginia college- and university-enrolled students in all majors. Students enroll at VCU and class credits can be transferred to their home institution. Room and board arrangements are also available through the university. The 2010 application deadline is Oct. 1, 2009, and early application is encouraged.
Photo: Del. Jeion A. Ward, VCU student Ericka Battle, and legislative assistant Deborah Sanchez.