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Our Leadership Team

Board of Directors

Audrey Henson photo
Audrey Henson Founder and CEO, University of South Florida

Simply put, unpaid congressional internships should not leave young changemakers in debt or financial straits. During my time on The Hill, I had to take out additional student loans to complete my congressional internships. Unfortunately, once I became a paid staffer, the financial hardships of living in one of the most expensive cities in the United States continued. I supplemented my income by working an additional job at night to just make ends meet. During these times of economic struggle it became clear to me why many of my generation are so deterred by the idea of working on Capitol Hill and how the private sector can be more appealing.

I truly believe that The Hill should reflect the best of the best — not just those who can afford it. To construct a Congressional staff that represents all walks of life starts at creating socioeconomic balance within the Congressional internship program. By creating College to Congress the first door in helping remarkable students gain access to the political system has been opened.

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Barry Brown photo
Barry Brown Director, Texas Tech University

One of the greatest barriers to entry for internships on Capitol Hill are the costs involved to live and work in one of the nation's most expensive cities.

As a former college intern myself, the only way I was able to afford my internship was with a small stipend given by the office I interned for that barely covered my rent.  The internship experience changed my life and as a result I planned to return to Capitol Hill following graduation to pursue a career as a legislative staffer.  Without the stipend, I couldn't have afforded my internship.

I am truly honored to be a part of College to Congress to help ensure that college students from all walks of life have the opportunity to secure Capitol Hill internships regardless of their financial standing.  Our next generation of leaders will come from all across the financial spectrum, we cannot allow these opportunities to be prohibited simply because of financial hardship.

College to Congress can help bridge that gap through providing critical resources to enable students in need a chance to secure a congressional internship.

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Courtney Lee-Ashley photo
Courtney Lee-Ashley Director, University of North Carolina

Having a career on Capitol Hill is a remarkable privilege that anyone with a passion for policy and politics should have the opportunity to pursue. This town is in constant need of inspired ideas, and the best ideas tend to emerge when a room is full of people from diverse backgrounds. College to Congress is such a wonderful mission because no individual should be deterred from working on Capitol Hill because of financial hardships. 

My first position in Washington, DC was an unpaid internship in the House of Representatives. Luckily, my sister and her husband allowed me to live in their basement on Capitol Hill until I was able to afford to move out. Did I mention it was their first year of marriage? Without their help, there was no way I would have successfully navigated one of the country’s most expensive cities. Their generosity allowed this small town, first generation college graduate to pursue a career in DC and, most importantly, it gave me the financial foothold to get started. I am proud to work with College to Congress and to help provide that kind of support network for college students who want to make their mark on our nation’s capitol. 

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Byron Patterson photo
Byron Patterson Director, Defense Language Institute

When College to Congress was first introduced to me, it immediately piqued my interest. I think that the talent pool on Capitol Hill would be much more diverse if socioeconomic status did not eliminate so many quality individuals from working on the Hill. I have full faith that College to Congress will give an opportunity for people to shine, and will lead to valuable contributions to the legislative process from people who otherwise would not have that opportunity. I believe in the mission fully and look forward to contributing.

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Sarah Belknap Curran photo
Sarah Belknap Curran Director, University of South Carolina

Sarah is a digital strategist with a background in grassroots campaigns. She is currently a director at Targeted Victory where she works with clients managing campaigns at the local, state and federal level. She has previously worked for i360, New Mexico Republican Party, U.S Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, and Generation Opportunity. She's also advised races and issue initiatives in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

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Thomas Maxwell photo
Thomas Maxwell Treasurer, Southern Methodist University

I am honored to be part of College to Congress. I remember coming to DC 16 years ago and learning how difficult it was to obtain an internship in a Congressional office. Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of success is opportunity. By covering the interns’ cost during the internship and providing mentorship and guidance, I see this new organization as a way for today’s young minds to become tomorrow’s leaders.

 

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Domonique James photo
Domonique James Secretary, Spelman College

I could not be more honored to be apart of College to Congress.  I firsthand understand what it means to be a student with all the potential in the world but lack the resources or options to activate that talent. I received a near full ride scholarship to attend one of premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country and that forever changed the trajectory of my life. I feel a deep conviction to keep the door of opportunity open for other deserving students who show a commitment to bettering their communities. In a political season marked by what divides us as a nation, it is a breath of fresh air to be a part of a bipartisan movement that moves the country forward.

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Strategic Advisors

James Tyrrell photo
James Tyrrell Counsel, University of Pennsylvania

As a political law attorney who regularly works with Members of Congress and their staff, I know the important role interns play in enabling congressional offices to function. However, for many college students seeking internships on Capitol Hill, it is far too often the case that the high cost of living in Washington, D.C. impedes their ability to take these coveted jobs. College to Congress opens doors to these bright young men and women who would otherwise not have the means to come to Washington D.C. and participate in our legislative process. I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful organization that gives these young people the opportunities and resources necessary to start their careers on the right foot.

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Sloane Skinner photo
Sloane Skinner Counsel, University of Kentucky

As a former Senate law clerk, I understand the invaluable experience I gained while working for Congress. Unfortunately, the reality is that many students can’t swing the high cost of DC living with a small paycheck, or none at all. College to Congress allows bright and passionate students the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress and gain exposure to the legislative process first hand.

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Cory Maran photo
Cory Maran Brand Marketing Advisor, College of Charleston

I strongly believe College to Congress has the power to change the culture dynamics on Capitol Hill, one intern at a time. After graduating college a semester early, I moved to Washington, D.C. in search of an internship on Capitol Hill. Despite having interned in a U.S. Senator’s regional office, and on one statewide and one national campaign, I was unsuccessful at finding a Capitol Hill internship, leading me to my current position at a private company. Every year, deserving students miss opportunities to learn about our country’s political system, and Congressional offices lose talented young professionals and diverse ideas to other sectors. This must change, and College to Congress has the power to make it happen.

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Breely Ungar photo
Breely Ungar Advisor, Southern Methodist University

Answering the call of civil service should not be limited to one’s socioeconomic position. I believe College to Congress has the capability to change Capitol Hill’s economic dynamic to better reflect our country, one intern at a time. During my time interning on The Hill in a U.S. Senator’s office I saw, and experienced, firsthand the economic challenges posed against a young professional trying to make their way on The Hill. It is clear why many of my generation are steered to the financial stability provided by the private sector. I believe by offering that proverbial “foot-in-the-door” experience on The Hill we have the capability to spark an interest in young professionals to pursue a career in the public sector.

I truly believe that at its core College to Congress is an investment in our country’s future and will help prepare our country’s future leaders.

 

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