Chloe Bailey of Buffalo, a political science major at Shepherd University, will intern at the State Capitol during spring semester.
She is one of ten students selected to receive the Judith A. Herndon Fellowship who will participate in the upcoming 60-day legislative session. A Herndon Fellow must be a full-time undergraduate of any major or discipline from a public or private institution of higher learning in West Virginia. Fellows must have completed 60 undergraduate hours, have a 3.0 GPA or better, and have completed courses in political science or have extensive public affairs experience.
During the session, Bailey will be assigned to perform various staff duties for a legislator from either the State Senate or House of Delegates.
“I will be doing everything from helping draft legislation, to research, to communicating with constituents,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s fellowship starts January 8. The legislative session is scheduled to run from January 12-March 12. After the session ends, she will be assigned to work in an executive agency. Bailey said she doesn’t have a strong preference for what legislator or agency she’s assigned to.
“I’m going in pretty open minded,” she said. “I’m excited to see what they’re going to do to help with the K-12 education system because it hasn’t been that long since I was in there. Other than that, I’m just excited to see what they’re going to do and to get an inside scoop on how things work there.”
“We are very excited that Chloe has won a spot in this program, our first Herndon Fellow in my nearly 20 years at Shepherd,” said Dr. Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, political science professor. “I believe that this will be an amazing experience. She will be fully immersed in the state legislative process for the entire semester.”
Slocum-Schaffer said the goals of the program are to expose students to both the theoretical background of the American legislative process and the practical application as exemplified by the West Virginia Legislature.
“As a Judith A. Herndon Fellow, Chloe will gain first-hand experience and knowledge of the politics of legislating, legislative research, bill drafting, the role of committees, constituent service, the budget process, and legislative/executive relations,” Slocum-Schaffer said.
Interning at the West Virginia Legislature has been one of Bailey’s longtime goals. She first learned about the internship opportunity when she was a junior in high school attending West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State, a leadership academy that the American Legion Auxiliary National Convention started in 1937 for young women who are interested in government.
“I took a political science class in high school and loved learning about how the government works,” she said. “When I attended Girls State, I had a weeklong 24/7 look at how government works, and they talked about this internship. I knew then that I wanted to get the inside scoop at the Legislature.”
This will not be Bailey’s first experience in the State Capitol. She served as a page three times. The Page Program gives students in grades six through 12 the opportunity to assist legislators on the floor during the yearly regular session. She said that gave her what she calls a “front door look” at the legislative process.
“As an intern, I expect to see more of the backdoor,” she said. “I’m hoping with this internship to see a lot more of the closed-door debates and discussions and how they come up with the issues that they want to cover in the legislation.”
This past summer, Bailey also interned with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office helping with the Alexa project, which makes it possible for people to ask Amazon Alexa questions and get quick answers about elections and the business services the office provides.
“I helped come up with questions, helped test questions, and then at the end of the internship I had to report on where I thought it should go and provide a plan on how to get to that point,” she said.
Bailey is on target to graduate in May 2023. After graduating from Shepherd, she wants to go to law school and eventually work in government as a general counsel or part of a legal team for an elected official.
“Getting experience in the legislative branch will help me once I finish all my education and start a career,” she said.