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Golden Bull makes mark on Capitol Hill

Jameia Booker ’19, a criminology major with a pre-law minor, was chosen to participate in the HBCU Bi-Partisan Congressional Internship program June 4-July 27, 2018.

Rep. Alma Adams spearheaded the program in 2016 to address the lack of diversity among congressional staff. African Americans make up less than 1 percent of top Senate staffers, despite representing 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Interns in the program spend four weeks in the offices of both a Republican and a Democrat—in Booker’s case, Congresswoman Adams’ office for four weeks and the office of Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) for four weeks. Upon arriving at Capitol Hill, a few aspects of the internship surprised her.

“When I entered the office, I noticed most of the staff were young and that surprised me,” Booker said. “I’d always thought it was hard to get a job on the Hill, and that you had to know someone. It really opened my eyes to more possibilities.”

Before starting the internship, Booker created a list of goals she hoped to accomplish, which included items from answering her first phone call to meeting civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. She works toward those goals daily, drafting letters, answering telephones, running errands and providing support on special projects. She has also made the acquaintance of key players on Capitol Hill, including members of Congress, and spoken with them at hearings for the Small Business Committee, the Senate Agriculture Committee, FBI Oversight Committee and the Department of Justice’s 2016 Election hearing. Her most treasured encounter, though, was much more informal.

“Recently, I was leaving the Capitol returning to the office and I accidentally got on the same elevator as John Lewis,” Booker said, smiling at the memory. “That was the best day so far.”

Booker is an active Golden Bull, as the incoming president of the Student Government Association; member of the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; on the National Council of Negro Women; vice president of the Criminal Justice Association; member of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society; Student Support Services; Official Student Leader; Golden Bulls Activities Committee and the Food Service Committee.

She credits her involvement at JCSU for preparing her for the congressional internship, as well as the mentorship of Dr. Nicola Bivens, Dr. Anita Bledsoe-Gardner, Dr. Deborah Quick and Dr. Terza Lima-Neves.

“The best advice I can give a Smithite is to take advantage of the learning experience JCSU offers, get out of your comfort zone, have faith and trust in God,” Booker said. “As an African-American woman interning on the Hill I have to bring my A game every day—not for anyone else but for myself, because I know I want to leave my mark on the Hill.”

After graduating in 2019, Booker plans to enroll in law school at Georgia State University.

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