Through the Congressional Fellowship Program, students in the Bagley College of Engineering are given an opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for a Mississippi Senator or Representative and gain insight into the workings of government. This experience will be beneficial to any engineering student but those interested in careers in government, law or public policy will find the program of particular value. Engineering students will gain vital workplace skills and open doors to new opportunities.
The Congressional Fellowship will allow engineering students to:
- Enhance their communication skills
- Improve their ability to work on teams
- Enhance their engineering careers through unique experiences
- Open doors to additional career fields such as engineering and patent law, government and business
- Live in Washington, D.C. for a semester and work on Captiol Hill
- Observe government in action and watch the political process firsthand
- Witness history being made
- Visit historical buildings, monuments and museums
- Develop their leadership skills, improve their critical thinking skills, and gain insight into ethics and standards of integrity
Experience gained while serving as a Congressional Fellow will prove beneficial when applying for employment or for graduate schools. The knowledge gained will benefit students both personally and professionally. The networking opportunities are extensive and include meeting public officials, captains of industry and fellow students participating in similar programs from schools across the nation.
Congressional Fellows have been represented by different majors. A listing of past Congressional Fellows and the offices in which they served can be found here.
- Fellowship opportunities currently exist with: Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Roger Wicker and Representative Gregg Harper, but we are constantly seeking new opportunities
- Fellowships coincide approximately with fall and spring semester dates, which will minimize the impact on class schedules
- Fellows maintain their status as an enrolled, full-time student for financial aid and other purposes through enrollment in an experiential learning course, much like a cooperative education experience
- Gain experience not available to most students
- Network with top-ranked student from other schools and make new friends
- Meet national leaders in government and industry
- Experience Washington, D.C. and the rich political and cultural opportunities it has to offer
- Observe government in action
- Learn while having fun
Duties may vary depending on the needs of the senator or representative, but typically will include:
- Attending committee hearings
- Assisting with preparation of briefings for members of the House and Senate
- Researching legislation and items of concern to the congressman and constituents
- Responding to and addressing requests and constituent concerns and problems
- Using computer skills to develop presentations, reports and perform Intranet activities
- Giving tours of the Capitol Building to constituent visitors
- Assisting professional staff members with constituent mail, computer tasks and other office functions
In the fall of 1999 Dorman Blaine, a 1961 civil engineering graduate, made a generous gift to the Bagley College of Engineering to establish and support the Congressional Fellowship Program. Earnings from Blaine’s endowment pay for partial support of the Fellow’s expenses and additional funds are provided from other gifts to the Bagley College. These funds cover:
- Furnished housing located close to the House and Senate offices
- A travel stipend that can be used to offset some moving expenses and travel to and from Washington, D.C.
Fellows are also provided with a monthly stipend from the Senator’s or Representative’s office which generally covers meals and other living expenses. The objective of the college is to ensure that students can participate in this experience with little to no out-of-pocket costs.
Fellows must be currently enrolled engineering undergraduates in good academic standing at Mississippi State University who:
- Demonstrate leadership skills in the classroom
- Are involved in college activities, professional organizations and honorary societies
- Participate in community and civic activities
- Possess strong oral, written and research skills
- Have an interest in furthering their understanding the political process
- Are committed to serving others
To be competitive for selection as a Congressional Fellow, a student should have completed a minimum of 60 hours of college coursework, 30 of which should have been at Mississippi State, and have a GPA of no less than 2.50. Although exceptions are sometimes made, ideal candidates will have at least one or two semesters of coursework remaining following the completion of their fellowship.
Interested students should download and complete the Congressional Fellowship application. In addition to the application, students must submit a current resume that includes at a minimum their work experience, student organization involvement, extracurricular activities and community involvement. They are also required to submit a two-page essay detailing why they wish to receive this fellowship. Fellowships are limited and the process is competitive. A committee will review the applications and periodically schedule interviews for strong candidates.
For more information contact:
Robert A. Green
160 McCain Hall
Mississippi State, MS 39762