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Students Will Head to Washington for Fall Internships

Two Lander University political science majors from Greenwood will spend the fall 2011 semester working and studying in Washington, D.C. Conner Lewis and Christopher Ty Grogan were selected for Washington Semester Internships sponsored by the University of South Carolina Honors College in Columbia. Lewis and Grogan are among 17 students who were chosen from the 25 who applied.

The internships are paid positions and, in addition to earning course credits at Lander, they will obtain firsthand experience with the workings of the federal government and the cultural opportunities associated with living in the nation's capital. While they have not yet received their assignments, Lewis and Grogan will work full time in congressional offices or other government agencies on Capitol Hill and attend evening classes.

To qualify, each student was required to obtain letters of recommendation, write a resume and a 500-word essay, and submit to a 20-minute interview at the Honors College in Columbia. To help prepare, they sat through mock interviews conducted by Lander faculty members Lucas McMillan, associate professor of political science, and Monica Shehi, assistant professor of English, and Dave Lorenzatti of University Relations and Publications, who also critiqued their presentations.

Beth Hutchinson Watson, director of internship programs at the Honors College, said all 25 applicants were well-qualified but that Grogan, Lewis and the others who were selected excelled in their interviews.

Lewis' arrival in Washington on Sept. 1 will signal the start of his junior year. He said he plans to attend law school after graduating from Lander and the internship will give him good insights. "It will help me to form more concrete ideologies and test my interest in politics." He added, "I can't wait to find out where I'll be assigned."

A graduate of Abbeville High School, Lewis is the son of Sherri and Michael Lewis of Greenwood. His older sister, Courtney, who graduated from Lander in 2006, is a teacher at Springfield Elementary School.

In addition to his academic studies, he is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes whose membership is open to female and male students.

Grogan, who graduated from Ninety Six High School, is also a junior at Lander. "I have a passion for politics," he said, adding, "I'm interested in the internship because I want to take advantage of the opportunity to live and work in Washington." As to where he would like to be assigned, Grogan said his first choice would be working in a congressional office.

After Lander, Grogan plans to continue his education, obtain a doctorate and teach political science at the college level. He said Lucas McMillan and Kimberly Richburg, his political science professors at Lander, have a passion for teaching that has rubbed off on him.

Grogan is the son of Debbie and Mickey Grogan of Greenwood. He has an older sister, Brook, and an older brother, Trey.

John Moore, professor of philosophy and director of Lander's Honors Program, said Grogan and Lewis are the third and fourth Lander students chosen for Washington Semester Internships. Jeremy Babb of North Augusta spent the spring 2010 semester working in the office of then-Congressman Gresham Barrett. In the fall of that same year, Andrew Willis of Williston followed Babb to Capitol Hill where he worked in the office of former Congressman John Spratt.

Moore added that all four Lander students who have applied for Washington internships have been selected.