University of the Ozarks sophomores Stephen Houserman and Cason Ray recently learned that they have gained early admittance to highly competitive internship programs in Washington, D.C. They will both spend this upcoming summer living and working in the nation's capital.
Ray, a sophomore accounting major from Fort Smith, Ark, will be attending the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. In addition to early admittance, Ray was awarded a scholarship by the Fund for American Studies to help offset his cost.
"Dr. (Gilbert) Parks knew that I was interested in an accounting internship, and he thought that working with economic systems would fit with that interest," Ray said. "He told me about the internship and told me I should apply. Within two weeks, I heard back that I had been accepted with a scholarship."
Ray feels especially privileged to be chosen for such a selective program and knows how pivotal an internship like this one could be for his future.
"They choose less than 100 students for this institute each year, and they have applicants from all over the world. I’m excited to be chosen," he said. "This internship will provide me with great connections when I get ready to apply for jobs, not to mention the boost it gives my resume. Hopefully, having a national internship under my belt will give me a competitive edge after graduation."
While he doesn’t know what his exact duties will be just yet, Ray does know that he will be taking classes at George Mason University.
Sophomores Cason Ray (left) and Stephen Houserman have both secured prestigious internships in Washington D.C. for this summer. Ray, an accounting major, will work at the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. Houserman, a political science major, will intern at the Institute of Economics and International Affairs.
"They haven’t assigned me to a specific internship yet, so I’m not sure what my day to day duties will be, but I do know that I’ll be taking two classes at George Mason University in D.C., which is also where I’ll be living," he explained.
Considering this will be Ray’s first visit to the nation’s capital, he plans to see most of the famous tourist locations.
"I’ve never been to D.C before," he said "In fact, I’ve never been on an airplane by myself. I’m excited to have this experience. I’d love to see everything in the capital: the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, Mt. Vernon, everything," he said.
Ray is not the only student Professor Parks has championed for a D.C. internship. Stephen Houserman, a political science major and sergeant in the U.S. Marine Reserves, will spend his summer at the Institute of Economics and International Affairs.
"I will be working in the Executive Office of the President with the committee for the U.S. trade representatives from South Asia," Houserman explained.
Originally from Gloversville, New York, Houserman spent five years in active duty in the Marines and plans to pursue a career in International Conflict Management. He is honored to have an opportunity to learn in such a prestigious setting.
"I spent three years living in Japan before I came to Ozarks. I love the military and the people I work with. I plan to stay in the Reserves until I graduate and can, hopefully, role that over into federal employment," Houserman said.
"Being able to work with economies around the world during this internship will definitely give me a head start. Working with this institute, doing negotiations with other countries on trade restrictions and things like that, will go a long way toward helping me develop mediation skills in an international setting," he explained.
Houserman displayed his potential for leadership and discussion when he began spearheading the efforts to organize the new campus political group, Republicans of the Ozarks. Their first order of business was to organize a debate with Democrats on campus.
"Our organizational charter has been sent to Student Government Association, so Republicans of Ozarks will be made an official campus organization very soon. We anticipate really making it an active group on campus," Houserman said.
Despite already possessing an international resume and strong leadership potential, Houserman understands the impact of this opportunity.
"I’m happy to have the chance to study in D.C. I don’t think many people get opportunities like this, and I plan to take full advantage of it," he said.