March 27, 2019

2019 Simon Institute Callahan, Lane student internships announced

CARBONDALE, Ill. – MiKala Barrett and Nekya Hall are recipients of 2019 internships through Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Barrett, a senior majoring in political science from Chicago, is the 2019 Eugene Callahan Intern. She serves on the legislative staff with the Illinois House Democrat Caucus. With a passion for public service and politics, Barrett is an active participant in student government, serving as chief of staff for SIU Carbondale’s undergraduate student government.

Hall, a senior majoring in political science and criminal justice, is the 2019 Alexander Lane Intern. She is serving on the legislative staff for Illinois House Democrats. Hall is also from Chicago, and is active in undergraduate student government where she served as a senator and chair of the external affairs committee.

Internships provide great opportunity for students

Linda Baker, a university professor with the institute and long-time public policy and legislative consultant, mentors the interns and helps supervise their activities in Springfield.

“The internships provide students a great opportunity to gain college credit as well as experience in the legislative process and important networking opportunities,” Baker said.

The university’s internship programs continue to grow in participation and popularity. The Institute plans to continue expanding its offerings for more students to receive this valuable educational and professional experience as resources and student participation levels permit.

Scholarship established to honor Gene Callahan

The Institute established the scholarship, renamed the Gene Callahan Scholarship in early 2015, to honor the late Gene Callahan, who passed away in 2014. Callahan, a longtime aide to Paul Simon and former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, was a member of the SIU Board of Trustees and a founding member of the Institute’s board of counselors. His son, the late Dan Callahan, was head baseball coach at SIU Carbondale and his daughter, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, is serving her fourth term.

The late Jerry Mileur, who served with Callahan on the institute’s board of counselors, supported the internship with a gift, and the internship replaced one named for Mileur, a Murphysboro native and a two-degree SIU alumnus.

Lane internship honors a pioneer

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. 
Donate to the Institute’s internship programs

Private donations from individuals and corporations fund the Institute’s internship programs. Tax-deductible donations can be made online or mailed to:

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Mail Code 4429
1231 Lincoln Drive
Carbondale, Ill., 62901.

PSPPI Internship

Learning about politics – MiKala Barrett, second from left and Nekya Hall, second from right, are student interns this semester with Illinois House Democrats in Springfield. Barrett is the 2019 Eugene Callahan intern and Hall is the 2019 Alexander Lane Intern. Both are seniors majoring in political science from Chicago. With Barrett and Hall are left, Steve Brown, press secretary for Illinois Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, and right, state Rep. Art Turner, Jr., D-Chicago, deputy majority leader. Brown and Turner are also SIU Carbondale alumni. (Photo provided)