Lander University has extended its perfect record for placing students in the Washington, D.C. Semester Internship Program of the University of South Carolina Honors College. Another two Lander students have been accepted, bringing to seven the number who have applied and been selected.
The latest admitted into the program are history major Emily Knott, of Boiling Springs, and John McKenzie, of Simpsonville, who is majoring in political science. They will spend the fall 2012 semester in Washington working on Capitol Hill or at other government-related assignments.
To qualify, students must meet certain academic requirements and submit to a rigorous application process that includes a written essay and an interview by members of the Honors College selection committee.
Knott is Lander's first female student and the first non-political science major to apply. She was attracted to the program by her strong interest in history and the historical nature of the nation's capital. As for why she decided to major in history, she said, "I like learning about the past." She's hoping for an assignment at the Smithsonian Institution or one of its affiliates.
A member of Lander's Honors International Program, Knott spent a semester at the University of Winchester in England as part of Lander's Study Abroad program. In May, she will be among a contingent of Lander students and faculty headed for Thailand for a summer camp to teach conversational English to Thai college students.
In addition to her studies, Knott is a tutor in Lander's Academic Success Center.
Knott said, after she graduates, she plans to get a master's degree and maybe a doctorate in public history and archiving.
John McKenzie said he applied for the Washington internship because of the prestige and responsibilities it offers. He is a sophomore and, after graduating from Lander, he wants to attend law school and specialize in corporate law.
McKenzie, who stands 6 feet 2 inches tall, is a soccer player who was home-schooled. In his senior year in high school, he played for two months on a team in Athlone, Ireland, his father's hometown, before an injury took him out of action.
His father, Aidan, is a former professional soccer player and chaplain for Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers. Today, he is an evangelist who leads Reconciliation Ministries Inc. in Greenville. The younger McKenzie has accompanied his family on a four-month ministry trip to Australia, and he has spent time with a religious group in South Africa, where he worked in a soup kitchen and played soccer. He has also traveled in Germany and France.
A student worker in Lander's Information Technology Services department, McKenzie said he hopes that his Washington assignment will be in the office of a U.S. senator.
The internship, which is part of Lander's Honors International Program, is a paid position and, in addition to earning course credits, McKenzie and Knott will have front row seats to witness the workings of the federal government. Most interns spend a semester working in the office of a member of their state's congressional delegation. They also can sample cultural opportunities available in the nation's capital when they are not working or attending evening classes.
The five other Lander students accepted into the Washington Semester internship are: Jeremy Babb, of North Augusta; Andrew Willis, of Williston; Ty Grogan and Conner Lewis, of Greenwood; and Ryan McNulty, of Jacksonville, Fla.
Dr. Lucas McMillan, assistant professor of political science and president of the South Carolina Political Science Association, and Dr. John Moore, professor of philosophy and director of Honors International, play a major role in preparing Lander students for the Washington internship application process. They said they are excited that the diversity of students applying for the program has increased.