By Adele Williams, Student Contributor
The internship, which is awarded to only two students from Kentucky colleges and universities each year, requires the student to live in Washington, D.C. for six to eight weeks as they serve in an office of a member of the Kentucky congressional delegation or an office of the executive branch. The Kentucky Society, a social organization that promotes goodwill, fellowship, and lasting relations among Kentuckians in the greater Metropolitan Washington area, selects only those students who demonstrate superior academic achievements and intellectual development for their internships.
Clay was born in Havre de Grace, MD, but has lived in Kentucky since he was a toddler. He says, “We moved to Somerset when I was probably two or three, but when mom got a job teaching at North Laurel High School just before my freshman year we moved to London.” He graduated from North Laurel High School four years later in the spring of 2012. Upon graduating high school, Clay attended a large public university where his mom had begun teaching classes at. Because of her employment at the university, Clay was able to receive tuition exchange. However, his mother changed jobs after the fall semester and Clay was unable to keep the exchange, so he enrolled into a local community college where he primarily took online classes.
When Clay heard of Alice Lloyd College, he was enthralled by the financial assistance provided to students through the work study program. In addition to this, he also liked the small student body and the community atmosphere that the campus displays. Upon enrolling at ALC, he had about thirty credit hours, some of which were from actual college classes and others that he had earned through CLEP (College Level Examination Program) credit.
Clay is majoring in English education and also has a history minor. He says, “I’ve always loved reading, writing, and learning. Both English and History involve a lot of that. As far as education goes, both my mother and my aunt are in education, so I’ve been around it all my life.” Clay has been a great leader for other students on campus, proving that the leaders are at Alice Lloyd College. He began his work study on the grounds crew and has now worked his way up to being the student supervisor over the weight room on campus. He is thankful for being able to earn this positon, and says that he has learned a lot on his journey so far. “I think working on grounds really prepared me to work in the weight room. The saying, ‘If you’ve got to clean toilets for a living, make’m shine’ has always stuck out to me, and I’ve tried to carry that same attitude with me while I’ve been at ALC. As for being work head, I have probably learned more about working with people than anything. I’ve learned how to manage workers, but also how to work with the public.”
In addition to his academics and work study, Clay is a star member and captain of the ALC cross country team. He has also been recognized as a Daktronic Scholar-Athlete, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and has been nominated for Alpha Chi at ALC.
Clay plans to graduate in the fall of 2016, at which point he either plans to go on to law school or continue working towards his doctorate degree. While he does hope to return to the area in his future, he is also excited about the adventures he has yet to discover. Interning in Washington, D.C. is his first step to exploring the world. Clay is hoping that he will be able to intern in Congressman Hal Rogers’ office, where he is excited to see the political system put to work. He excitedly states, “I think that will be an experience in and of itself.” However, he is also excited to be in the most important political city in the world, as he says. Clay says that he has never experienced a city as important as Washington for an extended period of time, and notes that he sees travel as a form of education in and of itself. He says, “While my work experiences are bound to teach me a lot politically, I think just being in D.C. will teach me about the world.” He says that he hopes to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which inspired a song called by John Prine called “Sam Stone.” He says, “At the beginning of the live version, Prine mentions how you can see your reflection in the black marble, and all the names of the people that died inscribed on the wall. I’d imagine that would be very moving.”
Clay also hopes that this experience will aid him in his decision between choosing education and choosing politics. “I’ve been vacillating back and forth between law and education for a long time, and this is the type of opportunity that could shift the balance enough to decide the winner. I’ve seen education firsthand, but I’ve seen very little of the political field.”
Clay is very thankful for Alice Lloyd College, especially the members of the history department which he said have all been instrumental in their own way and helped him to decide to apply for the internship. “My teachers have all been willing to work with me and to help me grow as a writer and thinker, and for that I’m very thankful.” Clay went on to say, “After I finished the interview, I told my family who had come to Louisville with me that I really felt like I had no chance. I was really nervous, but I’ve also always heard that if you aren’t nervous then you aren’t ready. When I got news that I had received the internship I was shocked, speechless, and elated, in that order.” We are excited to see all that Clay accomplishes. We know that he has a very bright future ahead of him.