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A Summer of Education, Politics, and Smoothies

Ask Scott Lamkin where he'll be ten years from now, and he won't have a definite answer.

Date: 9/20/2004
By: Billie Dziech
Phone: 556-1707
Ask Scott Lamkin where he'll be ten years from now, and he won't have a definite answer. But he does know how he spent the past summer, and he's very clear about what his experience taught him. An English/pre-law major, Lamkin will begin his junior year after spending several weeks as an intern at the U.S. Department of Education.

“Such a valuable experience doesn't occur on a consistent basis, so I'm very thankful for the opportunity I had,” he says. This is not to suggest that the work was easy. His primary responsibility was to serve as a liaison to various educational committees in the House and occasionally the Senate.

Most of his time was spent at meetings of the House Education and Workforce Committee. During just one week, he attended meetings dealing with accreditation, disabilities, women in the workforce, and the No Child Left Behind Act. He was expected to compose detailed reports about meetings so they could be distributed to employees of the Department of Education to familiarize them with current issues in education.

Some of the meetings were reminders of the ways in which America has changed forever. One was a staff meeting that he thought about titling “What to Do If the Department of Education Blows Up.” Lamkin wrote in an e-mail home, “It's not a scary feeling living in D.C., but it's humbling to consider just how fragile our safety is. I guess it keeps me on my toes, which is a good thing.”

Other times were less serious. There was the day he helped a new store owner by passing out free smoothies, an exercise that he said could be “a good way to get a date.” Or the afternoon he appeared on a panel for the140 Presidential Scholars and then “hung out” with them. He jokes that he pretended to be attending Oxford, even though “people realized I was lying.” Then there was the Sunday he sat next to Condoleeza Rice at the National Presbyterian Church and considered having her “autograph a hymnal to sell on Ebay.” He never did buy the Van Gogh tie he wanted from the National Art Museum because “the price tag was a little too steep.” But he did get to feed the goats at a festival on the Mall.

All in all, the internship that Lamkin says will be “only 1/328 of his life if he lives to be 82” changed it forever. “In the process of providing others with important information, I learned an incredible amount of information that will undoubtedly by useful in my future endeavors. I've always been somewhat interested in politics, but my experience in D.C. has really opened my eyes to the importance of understanding politics.”

He plans to attend law school after graduation but is also interested in teaching. His 3.7 GPA and work with Tribunal, the student senate, and the News Record, as well as his job with a local attorney, position him to do well at any career he chooses in the future.

Right now Scott Lamkin is just enjoying the opportunities and challenges that come his way: “We'll see where my interests take me. Hopefully, I'll do something worthwhile.”

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