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Three BCTC Students Serving as Interns During General Assembly
Bluegrass Community and Technical College students Seth Gardner, Ryan Halligan and Justin Johnson are serving as legislative interns during this session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Gardner is working for Sen. Julian Carroll, who represents Senate District 7; Halligan is working for Rep. James Kay, who represents House District 56; and Johnson is working for Sen. Jared Carpenter, who represents Senate District 34.
As part of their duties, the interns attend committee meetings, research bills and develop constituent communications.
“Overall I’ve learned so much about the legislative process, how the peoples’ voice on issues really does matter and how much legislators look into how their district feels on topics and bills,” Halligan said. “I grew up in Frankfort, but I feel like I’ve learned more in the past month about state government than I did growing up.”
Halligan, who is studying agriculture economics, said reviewing bills for the Agriculture and Small Business Committee is affording him an opportunity to see first-hand how legislation affects farming. In addition to his internship, Halligan recently attended the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Mo. He is the first BCTC student selected by AFA to attend this conference. He also is attending the AFA Food Institute in Chicago this month.
For Gardner, starting over after dropping out of high school has been tough. But he said getting a chance to intern for former governor, now senator, Julian Carroll, has been a great experience. Some of the most valuable aspects of the internship for him include networking opportunities, getting behind the scenes perspectives on things like the bill-writing process and how the lobbying system really works.
“Like a lot of people, for me the idea of interning conjured up ideas of holding coats and memorizing how someone enjoys their morning coffee,” Gardner said. “But as I’ve found out, members of the General Assembly welcome all kinds of assistance. For someone who has been interested in policy his whole life, it’s been a blast to be part of the process.”
Johnson agrees that serving as an intern for Sen. Carpenter is providing him opportunities he might not otherwise have had.
"My time in this internship has been very rewarding,” Johnson said. “I've gained knowledge of the legislative process and met many great people. I believe this experience will help me in the future and give me an advantage over other people."
BCTC student interns may earn up to six hours of academic credit in the program. To qualify to participate in the program, the intern must be enrolled in at least six credit hours at BCTC during the intern semester and be a current student in good standing.
Kentucky Community & Technical College System