FSC’s Washington D.C. Intern Lays Groundwork for Career in Politics, Law
LAKELAND (Dec. 5, 2011) – Leslie Rath, a go-getter political science major from Winter Haven, Florida and a senior at Florida Southern College, is now finishing up an exciting semester-long internship in Washington D.C. that she touts as “an incredible experience” and one that is providing a real-life learning opportunity for her as she prepares for her career in politics and law.
Rath is working in the office of U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), a former state representative and Lakeland attorney who was elected to Congress for the first time in 2010.
Rath is not only representing FSC on Capitol Hill as part of the College’s robust Political Science internship program, but she also is serving as a staunch advocate and voice of encouragement for other students who hope to one day intern as well.
“This has been an invaluable experience,” said Rath, who started her own blog to chronicle the internship. “I would highly encourage any student to intern on the Hill if they can. I want others to know how fun this is and that they should try to do it. The Hill is very open to young people who come here to live and learn. The people here want to educate students about what goes on in D.C. I want other people to understand the process. That’s why I stated a blog. It’s important.”
Rath’s blog, called “Rath on the hill”, can be viewed at www.rathonthehill.blogspot.com.
As an intern in D.C., she had the opportunity to talk with constituents about issues important to them, guide tours in the Capitol, attend committee hearings, sit in on meetings with constituents, PAC representatives, and lobbyists, and assist with the massive volume of constituent mail that the office receives every day.
Living close to the Capitol, Rath says she greatly enjoyed being able to walk to work every day. She also loved having the opportunity to take part in specially-planned activities with other interns. Among them, Halloween “trick-or-treating” on Embassy Row, visiting the many museums that Washington D.C. has to offer, and attending what Rath says is an “extensive” lecture series for interns.
“I’m really looking forward to an upcoming Christmas function at the White House,” she said.
Leslie Rath is a sixth-generation Floridian whose family grows oranges in Central Florida. She says that her family’s agrarian roots have inspired her to pursue a career in politics and law where she can work on legislative issues that affect agricultural and environmental policy.
“I’m also very interested in foreign policy and international relations,” said Rath. She plans either to attend law school after graduation or pursue a master’s degree in political science. “Almost everyone working in Washington D.C. has a master’s degree, or a doctoral degree, or a law degree. I know I need to continue my education in order to follow this career path.” Rath said she will consider attending universities either in Washington D.C. or Florida.
Thanks in part to Leslie Rath’s efforts, the relationship between Congressman Dennis Ross’s office and Florida Southern College will continue. Political Science major Gage Nicholas will intern for the Congressman next semester, marking the third semester in a row that an FSC student has interned in Washington D.C.
“Working for Representative Dennis Ross has been an honor and a privilege,” said Rath. “Congressman Ross’s convictions, his commitment to his constituents, balanced with his decency and down-to-earth sense of humor makes him a remarkable Congressman. I will miss being a part of the Congressman’s staff and coming to work every day on the Hill. I will always treasure having had this experience and knowing that I played a small role in the 112th Congress.”