From Tallahassee, Florida, to Washington, D.C., the Loop Legislative Internship Program has supported more than 20 College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students in various majors. This year, the scholarship celebrates its 10th anniversary!
In 2009, the Loop Legislative Internship Program was founded in honor of Carl B. Loop Jr. by the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. The goal of the program has been to provide financial assistance to CALS undergraduate and graduate students who have been offered government internships at either the state or federal level.
Of the previous scholarship recipients, we were able to catch up with CALS alumni who now have full-time positions in different realms of government. Take a look at our Q&A conversations with some of our Loop alumni below!
Most recently, Brandon Grady, Food and Resource Economics senior, was a summer 2019 intern for CALS alumnus and Congressman Greg Steube. Grady shares that, “The loop legislative scholarship allowed me to offset the expenses of living in one of the most expensive cities, Washington, D.C. I learned so much over the 10 weeks [of my internship]. I answered phone calls from constituents, wrote letters responding to constituents’ concerns, and gave tours of the U.S. Capitol.”
Tien Weber (BS ’17 Environmental Science) was a Loop intern for the Department of Homeland Security, where she collected unknown samples of pollen for examination and documentation. She shared that her favorite memory was working with her supervisor who also served as her personal and academic mentor. Weber found her passion for research through this internship, and credits the experience for allowing her to gain a better understanding of government research. Weber is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alberta studying soil and water science. In the future, Weber hopes to work in governmental research and development.
John-Walt Boatright (BSA ’13 Food and Resource Economics) currently serves as the Director of National Affairs at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, which he describes as his dream job. In the summer of 2011, Boatright served as the first Washington-based intern for Representative Steve Southerland.
What piece of advice would you give to students interested in a government internship?
Take time to develop relationships. The work is important, however, in the arena of government, today’s intern could be tomorrow’s Chief of Staff. If you are preparing yourself for a career in government, a strong network of coworkers, who often turn into friends, can be an asset down the road. The first time you work with them will likely not be the last time.
“The Loop Legislative Internship Program made a significant difference. It lessened the financial burden of a once-in-a-lifetime chance I would have otherwise been unable to justify.”
-John-Walt Boatright, BSA ’13 FRE
In the summer of 2015, KathrynAnn Fields (BSA ’13, MS ’15 Food and Resource Economics) interned with the National Cattleman’s Association and Public Lands Council. She is currently a Policy Analyst in Austin, Texas, working on natural resource policy.
What was your favorite memory from the Loop internship?
I was given the opportunity to work on issues affecting cattlemen from trade and tax issues, to cattle health and the environment. My favorite memory from the Loop internship was visiting the Capitol to meet with Congressman about agriculture issues. The Florida Cattlemen were in town for their annual trip to Washington, D.C. Visiting with the Congressman alongside the Cattlemen was a great opportunity to hear their views on various initiatives and gave me a chance to realize I wanted a career in public policy.
“I loved working in the heart of our nation’s capital on agriculture issues. I would say I definitely caught the bug and could not wait to return — which I did later for another internship with a Congressman.”
– KathrynAnn Fields BSA ’13, MS ’15 FRE
If you are interested in gaining an experience similar to Boatright, Fields, Grady, and Weber, there are a wide variety of internship programs available for students. Legislative internships are an incredible opportunity for students interested in policy communications, law, political science, environmental protection, research, business management, or community development.
Students who wish to intern with an individual U.S. Senator or Representative can explore their office’s websites for more information about their programs. Students can find more information regarding the Loop scholarship, internship resources, and previous recipients by checking out the CALS website.
Students who are actively seeking or have accepted a state or federal level legislative internship are encouraged to apply for financial support through this program. Application deadlines for the Carl B. Loop Jr. Legislative Internship Program are throughout the year and can also be found on the CALS website. If you have any questions about finding a legislative internship or applying for the program, please contact Cathy Carr.