This story is the second of several in a series on Ozarks students and their summer internships.
University of the Ozarks senior David Ray is more than just your average college student. He is one of the most involved students on the Ozarks campus, serving in many of the student organizations while working towards a degree in both Communications and Political Science. However, the summer before his senior year, David found time to visit Washington D.C. for an internship with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
Through an organization called The Fund for American Studies, David was able to take nine hours of classes at Georgetown University while serving as a Political Action Committee (PAC) intern.
“I worked in the Finance Department, specifically with Political Action Committees,” said David. “We helped raise money for the NRSC by spending time doing a whole lot of research and building up call sheets for potential donors.”
David learned about the internship program through Ozarks’ political science professors Dr. Gilbert Parks and Dr. Stewart Dippel.
“They pointed me in the direction of this program,” said David. “The courses with Dr. Parks and Dr. Dippel that I had taken in American Politics really prepared me for this internship.”
During his time at Georgetown, David took part in a class titled Transformation in American Politics, which analyzed change throughout the history of American politics. His nine-hour load of courses was balanced with the internship which required a 30-hour work week.
While in Washington D.C. he met several United States Senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) and Senator John Ensign (Nevada).
“D.C. is kind of like Hollywood for politicians,” said David. “You run into people everywhere.”
David described one of his high points for the summer was having coffee one morning with Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma).
“Senator Coburn met with me and four other students in his Senate office and he let us ask any questions we wanted,” said David. “Everything was completely off the record, but to be able to speak that candidly with someone with that much power and prestige in the American political system made it a really fun experience.”
David had planned to take this internship over a year ago; however, he spent that summer working as an intern on the Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign.
“I lived in Sacramento (California) for three months working as a war room intern,” said David. “I did a lot of report writing and keeping an eye on numbers for the campaign.”
Having spent the last two summers working as an intern in the political arena, David has been rewarded with a full-time job with the NRSC following his graduation in December.
After experiencing his internships, David’s advice to other students is to “find something and do it.” He claims that one of his biggest mistakes in college was sitting at home his first summer after his freshman year.
“I have two really good internships under my belt,” said David. “But looking back, I could have added another credential to my resume.”
In his last semester at Ozarks, David spends time serving as the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) and is a member of the College Republicans and Ozarks Screaming Eagles Forensic Club. He also works in the Admission Office, the Jones Learning Center and Student Support Services.
“Between all the upper-level classes, the work and the three organizations, I stay pretty busy,” said David.
David wants students at Ozarks to know that SGA is “an organization that is immensely important because we address issues that are going to affect the value of that student’s degree.”
“I’m really proud to be a member of SGA,” said David. “I think SGA hasn’t done much in its stated purpose towards students (at Ozarks) and I really want to reinstate that this year.”
The Brighton, Tennessee native has a five-year plan which includes attending law school, along with his future position with the NRSC.