by Jerri Whitner, Student Contributor
What would it be like if Kentucky Congressman Henry Clay and Mrs. Alice Lloyd sat down for dinner? That question is one ALC senior Josh Baker answered in his application for the prestigious Kentucky Society of Washington’s Henry Clay Internship. Josh is from Knott County and is majoring in business administration along with double minoring in entrepreneurship and leadership. Growing up in Appalachia, Josh developed a heart for the mountains and a passion to help his neighbors. Alice Lloyd College has provided the necessary tools for Josh to fulfill his life goal of starting a non-profit to help better develop Appalachia economically.
Josh was recommended for the Henry Clay Internship because the ALC business department and college administration noticed not only Josh’s outstanding academic performance but also his desire to serve others. For two nerve-wracking months, Josh went through the challenging application process, consisting of general information and three recommendations. He also answered a few questions in addition to the essay topic, “If you were hosting a dinner for Henry Clay, then who else would you invite?” When asked what he wrote, Josh replied, “I said Mrs. Alice Lloyd because it would be an interesting sight to see. Henry Clay is known as this great compromiser, and, to me, Mrs. Lloyd was so uncompromising in her beliefs. She set out to do something and she did it. We can take lessons from both because we shouldn’t compromise our core beliefs, but sometimes we need to compromise for the best interest of many others.”
While that seems like a rather substantial application, Josh was not finished. After submitting the first part, he anxiously waited to hear if he had been selected as a semi-finalist. When he finally received the email congratulating him on being selected, Josh went through the second phase of the application – a thirty-minute interview held at Transylvania University. The interview was conducted by four former presidents of the Kentucky Society of Washington along with the current president. In thirty minutes, Josh made an impression on the selection committee which would ultimately lead him to be selected as one of three college students who would represent Kentucky in the nation’s capital. Josh is humbled and excited to spend six weeks over the summer in Washington D.C. representing Alice Lloyd College and the Appalachian region. He continues to mention how thankful he is for the overwhelming support of the ALC community that cheered him on through the application process. “My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t get it, and I would let so many people down. Now, I hope I can make them proud,” he said.
During his internship, Josh aspires to work with an Appalachian member of Congress or the Appalachian Regional Commission. He looks forward to seeing how everything in the mountains correlates with what happens in the nation’s capital. While Josh claims to be almost “giddy” with excitement, he also says, “I feel like such a great responsibility has been placed on me now. I’m going to have to go up there and really do everything I can to show that I was a good decision for the internship.” He believes that he places more pressure on himself because he feels, “The concerns for Appalachia are my concerns.”
Even though many young people from Appalachia move away from the region, Josh wishes to use his experience to improve the area and to be part of the 83% of ALC graduates who return to the mountains. Mrs. Lloyd knew that the future leaders of Appalachia could be found in these hills, and with knowledge and the right tools, they would be able to advance the region. Josh’s passion for improving Appalachia is a testament to Mrs. Lloyd’s mission. He wishes to thank all who supported him through the process including his parents, Dirk and Melissa, his family, and the Alice Lloyd College community.