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April 6, 2009
Contact: Burdett Loomis, Department of Political Science, (785) 864-9033.

KU dean to speak at Washington Intern Program anniversary event April 8

LAWRENCE — To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the University of Kansas’ Washington Intern Program will hold a 5:30 p.m. reception Wednesday, April 8, in the Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St. SE, Washington, D.C.

Joseph Steinmetz, dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will speak at the gathering that will attract members of the Capitol Hill community, alumni of the program, KU students, faculty and staff, and invited guests.

During the reception, Burdett Loomis, professor of political science and director of the Washington Intern Program, will announce the formation of a new Washington Semester Advisory Committee. The group will hold its first meeting April 9. Members of the board, which includes some KU alumni, are listed below.

Since KU’s political science department began the internship program in 1984, about 500 students have earned academic credit while working in the nation’s capital.

“Although many colleges and universities have Washington programs, KU’s is distinct in its special emphasis on full-time internships,” said Loomis. Students work about 40 hours per week, with one afternoon set aside for a seminar with guest speakers.

Many former interns continue to work on Capitol Hill in senior staff positions; others are in careers related to their fields of interest. Jill (Maycumber) Sommers, who worked for Sen. Bob Dole in 1991 when she was a KU student, is a commissioner for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Another 1991 intern, Pam McElwee, who worked in Sen. Al Gore’s office and was a 1993 Rhodes scholar at KU, teaches at Arizona State University’s School of Government, Politics and Global Studies. Sommers is originally from Fort Scott, and McElwee is originally from Lawrence.

“Although KU interns have often worked for Kansas legislators, from Bob Dole to Dennis Moore to Jerry Moran, the range of internships has been remarkable,” Loomis said. “In the first class, Michael Grauer (originally from Olathe) served an art history internship with the National Museum of American Art. Several interns have worked in the White House, as well as the State Department, and a number have worked for think tanks such as the Cato Institute, Brookings, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.” Grauer is associate director of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

Most of the program alumni are from KU, but students from Wichita State University, Kansas State University and other Kansas Board of Regents schools have enrolled in KU’s Washington Intern Program in the past 25 years. This semester, 10 interns are from KU and five are from Wichita State.

In the first years, KU faculty members went to Washington for the spring semester to direct the program, but in 1991, the program employed former Rep. Bob Whittaker, R-Kan., to coordinate the Washington activities, following his retirement from Congress. Linda Slattery followed Whittaker for eight years. Stephene Moore, wife of Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., currently coordinates the weekly seminar.

KU faculty and staff attending the reception will include Steinmetz, Loomis and LaRisa (Chambers) Lochner, a KU Endowment staff member and a 1994 program alumna.

Members of the KU Washington Semester Advisory Committee are:

— Howard Bauleke, chief of staff for Moore. He earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and speech and drama from KU in 1981.
— Marcie Cooperman, House Committee on National Resources. She participated in the Washington Intern Program in 2007 and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from KU in 2007.
— Christina Erland Culver, founding partner, C/H Global Strategies. She was a 1987 intern and has a 1988 bachelor’s degree in political science from KU.
— Selina Jackson, vice president for international affairs, UPS. She earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from KU in 1988.
— Alan Morgan, National Rural Health Association. He has a 1990 bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU.
— Neil Newhouse, partner and co-founder, Public Opinion Strategies, a national political and public affairs survey research firm.
— Matt Schlapp, vice president, federal affairs division, Cove Strategies.
— David Shulenburger, vice president for academic affairs, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and former KU provost.
— Heather (Brown) Wingate, vice president and director of federal government affairs, Citigroup. She was a 1989 intern and has a 1989 bachelor’s degree in political science and a 1993 law degree, both from KU.
— Linda Slattery, former director of KU’s Washington Intern Program
— Robert Woody, co-chairman, the Buxton Initiative, a nonprofit organization. Woody has 1966 bachelor’s degrees in political science and history and a 1969 law degree, both from KU.

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