UCA Honors Students to Attend National Conventions

Two students from the University of Central Arkansas will be attending the National Party Conventions in August and September as part of The Washington Center’s Campaign 2012: Academic Seminar Series.

Each presidential election year, The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars provides students an opportunity to study and volunteer to work at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The students will be placed in volunteer fieldwork positions with the party, convention committee, host committee, media, and many other convention related organizations and events, according to The Washington Center website.

Shastady Williams, a junior from Austin, will be attending the Republican National Convention from Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla. Blake Brizzolara, a junior from Little Rock, will be attending the Democratic National Convention from Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C. Both are political science majors and Honors College students.

Williams said the seminar is a great way to experience the political arena. She will interact with the delegates as they arrive in Tampa.

“I may also be given the opportunity, which I fully intend to take, to shadow a delegate from Arkansas as they participate in the nomination process,” she said.

Brizzolara said he has always had an interest in politics. The experience will give him a first-hand look at how the federal government works.

“This experience will allow me to personally see and understand politics on a national level,” Brizzolara said.

Brizzolara plans to attend law school and work for the federal government as a lawyer. Williams wants to be a prosecuting attorney. She is applying for the Truman Scholarship, a competitive scholarship to assist students who plan to pursue graduate study in public service.

Dr. Allison Wallace, an associate professor in the Honors College, said that she is thrilled to have two Honors students participating in the conventions.

“Both Shasta and Blake are political science majors, so for them, the experience will be clearly invaluable and may open doors for them as they pursue their careers. And because they are charged with communicating – more or less in real time – something of their experience to the rest of us back home in central Arkansas, via interviews, blogs, Facebook and the like, they will serve somewhat as our very own citizen journalists,” she said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for all concerned.”