News Item

Megan Hughes completes internship in Washington, D.C.

February 11, 2016

Lander University student Megan Hughes, of Anderson, spent a semester in Washington last fall and she describes it as “a life changing experience.”

Hughes, who is a senior majoring in sociology with a criminal justice emphasis, was in the nation’s capital as part of the Washington Semester program, sponsored by the University of South Carolina Honors College.

Her internship was in a communications office in the U.S. Department of Justice with responsibilities that included research projects and a variety of administrative duties. She also took turns with other interns leading office staff meetings. Hughes said, “I loved the experience,” but she decided she was not best suited for desk work. As a result, she returned to Lander with a new perspective on her career plans. She said she learned more about herself and was prompted to head in directions she had not considered before her semester in the nation’s capital.

Hughes, the first member of her family to go to college, is scheduled to graduate in May, then plans to put her education on hold and spend time traveling. Her first destination will be Israel because, she said, “My religion course at Lander has included the study of Judaism. In Washington, D.C., I was exposed to a variety of religions and cultures, and it made me more accepting and open-minded.”

Part of the Washington experience she relished was participating in the abundance of activities the city is famous for, such as visiting museums and historical sites as well as meeting people. At the end of her internship, Hughes, right, met informally with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

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Hughes shared a townhouse on Capitol Hill with 13 other interns. One of her housemates was Lander student Kimberly Modica, of Waterloo, who spent her internship working at the offices of Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental humanitarian organization.

Hughes balances her academic studies with a full time job in Anderson. She plans to live in Washington, D.C., after graduation, and she’s trying to save money to pay expenses related to moving and travel. “I want to have some ‘me’ time to do what I want to do and see the world.” After that, she said, one option would be to join the Air Force and resume her education.

She and Kimberly Modica plan to discuss their experiences with other Lander students who are interested in a Washington semester.

To be considered for an internship, students must submit a resume, a personal statement and letters of commendation. Representatives of  the USC Honors College interview some applicants and students accepted into the program are assigned to work for government offices or other organizations. In addition to their fulltime internships, they also attend classes for which they earn course credits.

Since 2010, all 13 Lander students who applied for the program have been accepted.