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UMobile Students Awarded Prestigious Internships in U.S. Senate, Smithsonian Institute

University of Mobile students Jessica Catlin and Alexis Barnard will spend part of their summer in the nation’s capital gaining firsthand knowledge of history and political science. Having survived a highly competitive application process, the pair has been selected to serve as government interns. Catlin will work in the U.S. Senate for Sen. Jeff Sessions while Barnard will work at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Both students became intrigued with the idea of working in Washington while participating in a travel-based course taught through the university’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Lonnie Burnett, chair of the department and professor of history, and Dr. Julie Biskner, assistant professor of political science, sponsored the Fall 2011 course with just such hopes.

“We wanted to expose our students to the inner workings of government from a hands-on perspective. These internships are the first fruits of what we feel will be many more success stories,” Biskner said.

Burnett added, “If we want our students to change the world, we have to get them out of the classroom and into real-life situations. These two young ladies will not only gain valuable experience, but will also extend the University of Mobile’s influence to new areas.”

Service and leadership on campus and in the community are not new ideas for Catlin and Barnard.

Catlin, a junior political science major from Sylvan Springs, Ala., serves in the Student Government Association and the Bunker Hill Society. She has also interned with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Birmingham. Additionally, her musical talents are on display in RamCorps and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Barnard, a junior history/elementary education major from Santa Maria, Calif., is finishing a term as SGA vice president. Her leadership skills were proven as the top graduate of the Blackwell Leadership Institute. She was recently inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
Both students plan to use the experience they will gain this summer to further their career goals. Catlin has set her sights on the U.S. Supreme Court. While in D.C. this summer, she hopes to make valuable contacts and explore the law programs at local universities. Barnard, who wants to go into either museum outreach or nonprofit agencies, will likewise use the time to get a feel for the actual working environment in the nation’s largest museum system.

The University of Mobile is a Christian university located in Mobile, Ala., on an 880-acre campus near Gulf Coast beaches. Approximately 1,800 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Christian Studies, School of Education, School of Nursing, Center for Performing Arts and Center for Adult Programs.

For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

From left: Dr. Julie Biskner, Jessica Catlin, Alexis Barnard, Dr. Lonnie Burnett
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