Future leaders find guidance through SGA intern program

Photo by Elaine Sisco | The Collegian Members of SGA listen to Amirah McBride during her presentation at the Thursday, Sept. 9, 2014 meeting in the Union.

Each year, from a long list of applicants, 25 students are selected to intern for K-State’s Student Governing Association. A program dating back to 1984, these interns serve on committees, attend senate meetings, do special projects and learn what it takes to be a prominent leader at K-State.

“A big part of the intern program is to find the people who are going to be the next leaders of SGA,” Madeline Frankel, sophomore in political communications and intern coordinator, said. “I was looking for people who are not just going to participate a lot this year and show up to meetings and work hard on the projects and do everything with everyone else, but who are going to continue wanting to be involved in SGA. I was looking for people that are dedicated and passionate about making a difference at this school.”

Frankel, who has the challenge of guiding these future leaders, was an intern herself just last year. She said she loved the experience and the connections she made were priceless. Even after being elected as a senator, she knew her calling was to a help train the future of SGA.

“What I really wanted to do was help people who wanted to get involved,” Frankel said of her decision to apply to be intern coordinator.

There are many lessons SGA interns have the opportunity to learn. From parliamentary procedure to campaigning, the friendships and mentors they find through the program are invaluable to their success at K-State. For Joe Tinker, junior in information systems and last year’s “Most Outstanding Intern,” communication was one of the most valuable lessons he learned during his tenure as intern.

“When you’re dealing with some different issues, it’s important that everyone stay on the same page and that everyone knows where everyone else is at,” Tinker said.

Tinker said he knows just how important the relationships he built with senate leaders and with his fellow interns were to his success as a student senator now.

“I believe that nobody gets where they are going without a dedicated team of highly motivated individuals alongside them,” Tinker said. “What matters are the relationships and the experiences that we shared throughout the journey.”

The intern program focuses on helping develop and educate K-State’s leaders of tomorrow. Secretary Jordan Korb, sophomore in business administration, said serving as an intern gave him a community to learn from and with.

“The intern experience was one of the best experiences of my freshman year,” Korb said. “The people I got to meet were inspiring and became some of my best friends on campus. Getting to help out the student body is a great experience to have.”

For Frankel, emphasis on mentoring was a key goal for her as intern coordinator. Each intern is assigned to a willing senator to help them learn about senate meetings.

“I think it’s really helpful,” Frankel said. “If you don’t know what’s going on in senate, you can get lost really easily. So I think it’ll be helpful for them to sit by an older senator.”

Though interns aren’t allowed to vote in senate meetings, they all serve on committees and are encouraged to be vocal and involved in all aspects, from writing legislation to presenting it to the senate.

“I feel like everyone that was chosen for the SGA intern program is very passionate about serving, making a difference and learning,” intern Drew Boorman, freshman in business management, said.

While many senators started out in the intern program, Frankel said there’s no reason non-interns should feel like they can’t make a difference and be in senate. Though the program offers great background knowledge, she said passion is a key component in being successful in senate.

“As far as involvement goes, just find something you are interested in and go for it,” Tinker said. “I believe the university needs people who are passionate and excited about their interest. Everyone has something to offer our community and K-State provides a tremendous amount of resources in helping students succeed and prosper.”