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Each weekday morning, Keana Crockett, a senior at St. Catharine College, begins a 114-mile daily round trip between her home in Bardstown and Frankfort to participate in a learning experience not typically offered to her on campus.
This semester, her classrooms are the hallways, committee rooms and other environs of the Kentucky General Assembly, where Crockett is a full-time legislative intern for State Rep. Linda Belcher, a Democrat from Shepherdsville.
While Crockett’s duties range from the mundane to the necessary, legislators and staff supervisors for the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) acknowledge that interns have played a significant role in 60-day legislative sessions for some time.
“It’s amazing what the interns can do for us. They save me a lot of time,” said Belcher.
Crockett, a St. Catharine senior management and human relations major, said her internship has helped her grow professionally.
“This is an awesome experience. I’m learning how to carry myself professionally. It’s not like sitting in a classroom (and hearing about human relations). I’m doing it,” she said.
Motives vary for seeking the legislative internships, but networking, or contact building, is usually among them.
“You do make so many connections,” added Crockett. “I’ve been here for (nearly six) weeks now and I’ve met so many different people, and I’m already seeing if I can get a job here.”
If she succeeds, Crockett won’t be the first intern to parlay a Frankfort semester into a public sector job. Former interns include State Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) member Mike Duncan and Carol Palmore, a top official in four different state administrations. Palmore first came to Frankfort in 1970 as a college intern; an experience she says changed her life.
“The extremely positive experiences I had as an intern were the deciding factors in my career choice in public service,” Palmore, an attorney, said.
Richard Wilson, a correspondent for KyForward, contributed to this story.