March 03, 2016

Shantel Franklin named Alexander Lane intern

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Shantel Franklin of Chicago is the 2016 Alexander Lane Intern through the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Franklin will serve on the Illinois General Assembly’s legislative staff with the Senate Democratic Caucus under Senate President John Cullerton.  

“We are pleased that, through the support of private donors, we are able make this opportunity available to SIU students to enhance their education with state government experience,” David Yepsen, institute director, said. “Shantel is an impressive young woman focused on a career in public service. She will be an asset to the office and will substantially enhance her skillsets and increase her understanding of how government works and policies are made.”  

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, mentors students working through the Alexander Lane Internship during their stay in Springfield. 

“The Alexander Lane Internship Program gives promising students a valuable opportunity to work directly with the General Assembly, learning important professional skills as well as learning how state government functions firsthand. It is a pleasure to work with the students directly and observe their interest in our democracy,” she said. 

The institute established the Alexander Lane Internship program in 2011 to honor Lane, the first African-American male graduate at the institution that would become SIU Carbondale. The paid internship allows at least one student each spring to work with a minority member of the general assembly toward the goal of carrying on Lane’s legacy of high achievement and public service. Lane rose from meager beginnings in pre-Civil War Mississippi to become a school principal, physician, and an Illinois state legislator, serving in the General Assembly in 1906 and 1908. He died in 1911 in Chicago, and is buried in Carbondale. 

Franklin will graduate in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She has been an active member of the University Honors Program at SIU Carbondale, and has served in leadership positions including chief of staff of the Undergraduate Student Government. Franklin has been honored for hard work and dedication to public service throughout her time at SIU. In 2015, she received the Saluki Stay Scholarship, John and Nancy Jackson Scholarship, the National Pan-Hellenic Council Woman of the Year Award, the Project 3.0 Award from the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and the McNair Scholarship. Following graduation from SIU, she hopes to continue her education at the graduate level. 

​Private donations from individuals and corporations fund the Alexander Lane 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 Delio Calzolari, associate director, at 618/453-4001 or email