Capitol Hill Has A Diversity Problem and This Bi-Partisan Duo of Members Are Doing Something About It
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an event last week, U.S. Representative Mark Walker (NC-06) and U.S. Representative Alma Adams (NC-12) announced the creation of a bi-partisan internship program aimed at increasing diversity and engagement on Capitol Hill through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
The lack of diversity the Hill has been a well-documented issue. A recent study found that African-Americans make up less than one percent of top Senate staffers, despite representing 13 percent of the U.S. population. Reps. Walker and Adams are taking action to change this course.
The HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship program is the first of its kind, featuring two interns, who will each spend a four-week period in the office of both a Republican and a Democrat. The interns in the program will also have the opportunity to meet with key players on Capitol Hill, including Members of Congress and senior staff. They will also have to meet performance standards that ensure a quality, educational experience, including attending hearings and briefings, writing letters, completing projects, and writing an essay about their time and what they learned.
“For too long Republicans have talked about minority outreach without taking any meaningful action. This internship program will open doors by providing HBCU students the chance to learn about Congress, and how political issues are viewed by each side of the aisle,” Walker said. “To solve the issues that our nation faces, we need perspectives from all walks of life. With the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship program, we hope to start a precedent on Capitol Hill that leads to increased opportunity and legislative engagement from the African-American community.”
Vashti Hinton of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and Quanetta King of Johnson C. Smith University were selected as the first two students to be a part of the internship.
“It was nice to see so many people come out to support this program, I have very high hopes for its success. I am honored to be one of the first to help lift it off the ground,” Hinton said. “I hope that this internship will begin to redefine the future of HBCU students on Capitol Hill, and also hopefully encourage more diversity when it comes to staffers on the Hill in the future.”
“We are delighted to have one of our top student leaders participate in the first-ever HBCU Caucus internship program. The opportunity presented to Vashti, will allow her to apply the theories of political thought presented in the classroom, to the real world scenarios presented in both congressional offices and vice versa,” said Dr. Melody Pierce, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at NC A&T in Greensboro, N.C.. “We commend Congressman Mark Walker and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University alumna, Congresswoman Alma Adams for not only being committed to the idea of diversity, but also development of the structure necessary to achieve it. This is a true example of how bipartisanship effectively supports the next generation of great minds.”
“As the daughter of two HBCU graduates, it is with pride that I bring my HBCU legacy to Capitol Hill. During my experience working, I've had the opportunity to learn how Congress works and the ins and outs of how our laws are made,” King stated. “By attending meetings with staffers and networking with Hill staffers, I've met a lot of amazing people, who've all been willing to share what they know. I'm grateful to be afforded this educational opportunity that few people receive.”
"The Bipartisan HBCU Internship Program is an excellent opportunity for top Political Science students, such as JCSU's Quanetta King, to experience the political process up close and personal,” said Kimberlee Archie, the Student Employment & Internship Coordinator at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. “To live and work in our nation's Capitol and see the inner workings of Congress, not only from the Democratic side, but also the Republican side, is the type of professional development and exposure students need to prepare for their journey post graduation."
You can learn more about the students who are taking part in the internship program and see more pictures from the event below:
Vashti Hinton is a junior Political Science student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She was born in Baltimore, MD and raised in Greensboro, NC. She commits most her time to advocating for equality and justice, as well as supporting her family. She hopes to someday become an attorney and work for a non-profit or become a legal advisor.
Quanetta King is a junior at Johnson C. Smith University. She is from Fayetteville North Carolina. Her goal is to graduate with a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Pre-Law. King’s hope is to attend law school and pursue a career in contract and real estate law.
Rep. Mark Walker Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Quanetta King Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Vashti Hinton Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03) Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Speaks at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet
Hinton, Dwayne Carson of Rep. Walker's Office, and King take a photo at the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship Meet and Greet