Waggonner Center sends student to DC

June 25, 2010

by Haley Kraemer

Ryan Land, a sophomore electrical engineering major student, was awarded the opportunity to intern in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Washington, D.C., office this summer.

The Waggonner Center is a Tech-based program, which fosters citizenship, bipartisan understanding, effective public policy and civic leadership among all students, regardless of major.

Land will gain knowledge of the legislative process and join the Landrieu team while working in all different areas of the Washington office. The internship runs from July 12 to August 6.
Land said that it took about a month after he applied to hear the final decision because they were trying to verify it with the Senate.

“When I heard I won the internship, it was a huge relief,” Land said. “It was exciting because I have never been to Washington, D.C., before.”

Land also said that he did not have anything lined up for this summer, so this internship turned out to be a great opportunity.

He said though he is an engineering major “everybody has to deal with the government.”

Land said that he has heard from other engineers, and they have had trouble in the past with the decisions made by the government.

“I would like to know what goes on every day in the Senate,” he said. “I would rather see it and develop an opinion based on fact.”

Jason Pigg, an associate professor of political science, said Land has a 4.0 GPA, and he is a member of the Tech Linux Users Group.

“[Land] is excited about this opportunity, and I am pleased that we found such a high-caliber student for our first Waggonner internship,”?Pigg said.

Joe D. Waggonner Jr., a former member of Congress representing Northwest Louisiana, was a 1941 Tech graduate.

The Waggoner Center was established to honor his spirit of bipartisanship, his trademark.

“We are excited because they provide $3,000 which should cover his plane ticket, housing and general living expenses,” Pigg said.

Last year, the Student Government Association passed a bill to donate $1,000 to the cause.

The senate bill, proposed by the College of Liberal Arts Senators, allocated $1,000 from SGA’s Senate Project Fund.

He said because the Waggonner Center is new, they have not been able to set up an internship in the past couple years.

Pigg said he contacted Landrieu’s office this year to set up an internship opportunity, and what is usually a complex process turned into a mere phone call.

Ed Jacobs, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said that the ability of the Waggoner Center and SGA to afford a student the opportunity is remarkable.

He said the purpose of the Waggonner Center is to provide a bipartisan approach to politics.

Jacobs said, “[Land] is very privileged to have this trip paid for by the SGA and The Waggonner Center.”