Sarah Thomas didn t start college with an interest in politics. But somehow, it seemed inventible. She grew up in Arkansas near the childhood home of former president Bill Clinton. During a summer job in Illinois, she met a junior state senator who eventually became President Barack Obama.
After high school, Thomas started out as an art major at a four-year university, but later transferred to Bluegrass Community and Technical College. It was at BCTC that an instructor steered her to the path she was meant for. Thomas was selected as the first participant in a legislative internship program with seasoned politician, state Sen. Kathy Stein.
"It s absolutely wonderful," Thomas said of her internship during the 2011 legislative session. "Every day gets better and better. Probably a lot of people are more interested in the national level of politics, but this (state level) really hits home."
BCTC internship programs provide a rare opportunity for students like Thomas to gain real world experience before graduating. Thomas, a May 2011 graduate, plans to earn a bachelor s degree in political science and women s studies.
"You usually don t get to do an internship at a four-year university until you are a junior or senior," Thomas said. "So to have this experience early on in your education is very valuable."
Her classes at BCTC, such as her Women s Studies courses, prepped her to be informed about issues important to Sen. Stein.
"She s very into women s rights; very into women getting opportunities for education and furthering their careers," Thomas said. "All the classes that I have taken have led to this point where I feel I can fully appreciate this experience."