March 02, 2016

Ryan Gougis named Callahan intern

CARBONDALE, Ill. –​ Ryan Gougis of Chicago is the recipient of the spring 2016 Gene Callahan Internship at the Illinois State Capitol, awarded by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

The internship provides selected students the opportunity to be an active participant in the legislative process of Illinois. As the 2016 student intern, Gougis will work closely with members of the Illinois General Assembly as they craft laws and shape public policy. 

“We are pleased to make this opportunity available to SIU students,” David Yepsen, institute director, said. “It is a fitting tribute to Gene’s legacy that we help eager and determined young people of any background explore and get a foothold into public service. The selection process was competitive and Ryan rose to the top.” 

“In his work, Gougis will acquire new skills and gain firsthand knowledge of the legislative and political processes. The experience and knowledge received during the General Assembly legislative session can be a great asset and lead to exciting career opportunities,” Yepsen said. 

Gougis plans to graduate in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology. During his years at SIU Carbondale, he has been commended as a compassionate and ambitious mentor and student, helping his fellow students in the community. His service on the Carbondale Liquor Advisory Board evidences his devotion to public service, community involvement, and criminal justice. 

The Gene Callahan Internship was created in honor of the late Gene Callahan, a longtime aide to U.S. Sens. Paul Simon and Alan Dixon. Callahan served as a member of the SIU Board of Trustees and was a founding member of the institute’s board of counselors. The internship is supported by a generous gift from Jerry Mileur, who served with Callahan on the board of counselors. The internship provides a stipend to the selected student to help defray housing and meal expenses during the spring semester. 

Linda Baker, university professor at the institute and former secretary of the Department of Human Services and director of the Department of Employment Security, as well as the first African-American legislative liaison for an Illinois governor, will mentor Gougis in the state capitol. 

“It is a pleasure to work with promising students with a history of community involvement. Gene Callahan was an important community leader, and I enjoy the opportunity to work with young people who share his spirit and commitment to service. I look forward to seeing them make a significant contribution in the future,” Baker said. 

Private donations from individuals and corporations fund the Gene Callahan Internship program. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at or sent to the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Mail Code 4429, 1231 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, Ill., 62901. For more information, contact Baker at 217/553-6660.