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Political Science

History of the Statehouse Civic Scholars

In 2011, the University of Dayton piloted the Statehouse Civic Scholars program to place some of its top students in state-level government internships, working for legislators, the governor, a state Supreme Court justice, the attorney general and the secretary of state.

With a seed grant from the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fund for Excellence, the program is designed as a mentored field experience, where strong students see government in action, apply their emerging professional expertise, develop their passion for service in the public sector, and perpetuate the values that the University fosters in students through our Catholic, Marianist heritage.

Besides working in a variety of state-level offices and sharing their experiences while living in community on a local campus, the scholars attend weekly networking events with alumni, lobbyists, elected members of the General Assembly and others. When the first cohort finished their internships, it was clear that this program was more than experiential; it was transformational. They prepared speeches, wrote memos, drafted briefings, took calls from constituents and conducted research — skills useful in any professional setting. It went well beyond the practical, as they learned:

  • active listening skills;
  • that valuable cooperation and civility are in a field known much better for the opposites;
  • the Marianist charism of inclusivity is as applicable in government as it is on campus;
  • and, as they worked to understand viewpoints different from their own, they learned about diplomacy, justice, service and accountability.

Each year, the program seeks 12 bright students to continue the reputation of professionalism and excellence that our previous cohorts have established.

  • Robert Taft, former Ohio Governor: "It's an amazing opportunity I wish I had in college. UD's Statehouse Civic Scholars get to work side by side with Ohio's state leaders, honing their communication skills, exploring career paths and building relationships that will last a lifetime."
  • Michael F. Curtin: Representative, Ohio House District 17: "This program appears to be well-organized and well-respected at the Statehouse."
  • Bill Teets: Deputy Press Secretary, former Ohio Governor John Kasich: "We were very pleased with the caliber of our UD Summer Intern. She (Morgan Draves) was professional, bright and energetic, and was able to immediately bring substantive value to our office."
  • Monica Juenger, Director of Stakeholder Relations with the Governor’s Office on Health Transformation: "This is the third intern we’ve had from the UD Summer intern program.  We have been pleased with each of our interns.  Appreciate the thoughtful placements and high quality of the students."
  • Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, former Justice, The Supreme Court of Ohio (ret.): "Although we usually only take law student externs, I agreed to try a UD college extern, and am I ever glad I did. She was able to take some projects, run with them and enhance them beyond what I expected."
  • Eileen Austria, UD alumna, Statehouse Internship Coordinator: "We take talented and passionate UD students and open doors for them in state government.  We connect the classroom to the statehouse in Columbus and provide a fantastic, learning experience for our future public servants in Ohio. Networking with alumni and friends of the University makes this a one of a kind experience!"
  • Morgan Draves, 2014 Statehouse Civic Scholar, placed in the Governor’s Communication Office: "By participating in the Statehouse Civic Scholars program, I was able to make professional connections in various offices in Columbus, in addition to learning about and taking part in the excitement of state government. Joining Governor Kasich’s communications staff was a great experience and enabled me to see how important reacting and promoting are to such a high-profile office."
  • Caleb Johnson, placed with Representative Jim Butler, Ohio House District 41: "My experience with the UD Summer Statehouse Internship Program was exceptional. The quality and motivation of interns is much higher within this program than other interns independently seeking class credit from [other schools]. Much more [was] accomplished than would have been possible otherwise."
  • William Steele, 2014 Statehouse Civic Scholar, placed with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency: “The UD Statehouse Civics Scholar program gave me a glimpse into the state government 'at work.' The internship program took what I had learned in my MPA classes regarding government and politics and enabled me to see how the state government works in the real world.”
  • Matthew Van Dyke, 2014 Statehouse Civic Scholar, placed in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office: "I am a senior at the University of Dayton and will soon begin the law school application process. Interning for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office allowed me to gain knowledge in legal research and writing that will benefit me as a future law school student. Having the opportunity to network with lawyers, judges, and law school professors made the Statehouse Internship an outstanding experience."
  • Maddie Wacowicz, 2014 Statehouse Civic Scholar, placed in the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation: "I would advise any political science major to apply for the program.  To put it succinctly, one can find a political internship anywhere. But only through this unique program can a UD student thoroughly explore the intricacies of state government all while being exposed to the best and brightest UD alumni who are there to help guide your path into state government."
  • Elizabeth Wilhelm, 2014 Statehouse Civic Scholar, placed at the Ohio Historical Society: "This internship opportunity was more than I could have ever imagined. I originally had no idea this program existed. As I am not a political science major, I had not heard about this program before."
  • Tiffany Freeman, 2012 Statehouse Civic Scholar: "I am a second year grad student and was placed in the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation. My biggest highlight from the office was dealing with the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act and the impact that had on the office. I loved working with such intelligent and experienced individuals who really worked hard to provide a great experience."
  • Emily Kaylor, 2012 Statehouse Civic Scholar: "I had an amazing experience working on the fall ballot initiatives, Governor's monthly reports, and the hiring control process for state agencies. I got to go on site visits to places like the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility and mental health facilities. I even got to sit in on the meeting of the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors. It was also fun to have my co-workers invite me out to dinners and events and get to know them in more casual settings. I even got an office with a great view on the 34th floor! Outside of work it was great to get close to UD students of all ages and enjoy nights out in the city and Bexley."
  • Emily Bright, 2012 Statehouse Civic Scholar: "I couldn't have asked for a better internship experience working at the office of Secretary of State Husted. Every day I was doing real work and have been able to use the knowledge I've gained about the election process to help my friends and family better understand it and participate. I was continually impressed with the skill and dedication of every person in the office to a simple and fair elections process."
  • Eric Petro, 2012 Statehouse Civic Scholar: "There are so many positive things I can list about my experiences in Columbus, but the best part was being able to stay on Rep. Jim Butler's staff and work with his successful campaign even after the internship ended."
  • Andy Kurzhals, 2012 Statehouse Civic Scholar: "Working at the Statehouse taught me a great deal about politics and the legislative system. I think often times people focus all their attention on the federal level, and forget that their state legislators are making crucial decisions at the state level. Being able to witness the process through which such important decisions are passed by the House and Senate, really made me feel like I was witnessing and participating in a piece of history."

Statehouse Civic Scholars placements

  • Kyle Brun: Ohio Manufacturers Association 
  • Abby Bruns: Ohio Attorney General’s Office 
  • Hannah Cola: Ohio Supreme Court 
  • Thomas Fechalos: Ohio Supreme Court/Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission 
  • Lane Frost: Ohio Department of Public Safety 
  • Jake Jagels: Senator Steve Wilson’s Office/DeWine-Husted Campaign  
  • Sierra Johnson: Ohio Civil Rights Commission 
  • Violet Johnston Hobbs: Ohio Governor’s Office 
  • Richard Morisette: Senator Bob Peterson & Senator Niraj Antani’s Offices/DeWine-Husted Campaign 
  • Nick Rhodes: Ohio Lieutenant Governor’s Office 
  • Nicole VanVoorhis: Ohio Poverty Law Center 
  • Athena Xidis: Ohio Mayor’s Alliance

  • Bryan Borodkin: Ohio Environmental Council
  • Rachel Carr: Office of Budget and Management
  • Tyler Clogg: Senator Peggy Lehner
  • Emma Coning: Department of Public Safety
  • Patrick Munhall: Representative Jim Butler
  • Jake Neff: Senator Steve Wilson
  • Delali Nenonene: Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Maggie Ward: Governor’s Communications Team
  • Sophia Donati: Ohio Supreme Court
  • Emma Kapp: Representative Brigid Kelly
  • Nicole Lawless: Attorney General's Office
  • Matthew Mittelstaedt: Lieutenant Governor's Office, Innovate Ohio 

  • Andrew Wong: Jobs Ohio
  • Pamela Segalewitz: Ohio Supreme Court
  • Sarah Litteral: Ohio Supreme Court
  • Jacob Lunk: Ohio Democratic Party
  • Ryan Scott: Ohio Civil Rights Commission
  • Tom Pedrotti: Innovation Ohio
  • Kevin Stout: Ohio House Democratic Caucus
  • Tom Farrell: Ohio Republican Party
  • John Canning: Governor’s Office
  • Jenna Seychel: Department of Youth Corrections
  • Lauren Lowen: Representative Scott Oelslager and Senator Peggy Lehner
  • Andrew Scanlon: Attorney General's Office


Department of Political Science

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300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1425