UWF students receive scholarship to participate in Florida House Internship in Washington D.C.
University of West Florida students Raymond Matheny and Elizabeth McDonald were recently selected to participate in the Florida House Internship Program in Washington, D.C. this summer, where they will gain valuable experience working in the only state embassy in the nation’s capitol, and have opportunities to shadow members of the Florida congressional delegation and more. To make this experience possible, the Northwest Region of the Florida House is providing the students with $6,000 scholarships.
As part of the internship program, students spend three days a week assisting the director of the Florida House, and then have opportunities to shadow the Florida congressional delegation and explore offices related to their future career aspirations on the remaining two days.
“This aspect of the internship program is truly unique and provides students an invaluable chance to network, develop professionally and experience life on and off the Hill,” said Dr. Jocelyn Evans, chair of the UWF Department of Government. “It is an amazing opportunity for majors in political science, pre-law and international studies. The University boasts a tremendous student body, and we are so pleased to enter into this partnership with the regional representatives of the Florida House. It is a wonderful and truly beneficial relationship for our institution and our local community.”
Matheny, a senior international studies major, currently serves as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, where he is a platoon communications chief with the 3rd Force Recon Company. He wanted to apply for the program after immediately recognizing its potential for professional development and networking opportunities, he said, but it wasn’t until he learned of the sponsorship opportunity that it became a viable option. He credits the support of the Northwest Region of the Florida House for making the internship possible, and the UWF Department of Government for providing him with the educational foundation needed to succeed.
“This program will have a lasting impact on my future,” Matheny said. “Without a doubt, my education at UWF has prepared me to approach this amazing opportunity in several key areas. With knowledge gained from detailed courses, and thanks to the experienced, and most importantly, accessible, instructors I have matriculated under at UWF, I am equipped to take part in dialogue with fellow interns, tourists and policy makers alike.”
Matheny said he is most looking forward to the program’s potential to enhance his education by providing a unique glimpse into the inner working’s of the nation’s government, as well as the networking opportunities it will present with government officials and agencies that would otherwise be inaccessible.
McDonald, a senior international studies major, credits both the University and the Northwest Region of Florida House scholarship with finally making her lifetime dream a reality.
“This internship is the biggest break of my life,” she said. “It will allow for me to springboard into my career field, as well as greatly impact my networking abilities for the future. UWF and the Department of Government have prepared me for the internship, and this scholarship means everything to me. It is amazing and unreal to think my dreams are starting to come true.”
For additional information about the Florida House Internship Program, visit floridaembassy.com. To learn more about the UWF Department of Government, visit uwf.edu/cas.