A FORMER Friends' pupil is preparing to travel to Washington where she will undertake a prestigious internship with Congressman Tim Holden - right in the heart of Capitol Hill.
Emma Swift, who is currently reading Modern History at St. Andrews, has been selected for the Washington Ireland Program (WIP) — an organisation designed to give students an insight into America's professional and social culture through a two-month internship and an intensive training course in leadership and service.
22-year-old Emma, who hails from Moira, will be in the States from June 5 until August 1 as part of the programme which aims to select promising individuals from all parts of Ireland, who they believe will ultimately use their talents to contribute back to their home communities.
"It's really exciting," Emma commented. "I'll be on Capitol Hill so it will be nice to be where the decisions are made. It will also be exciting to see if I want to pursue politics, which I studied at school."
Emma will be working alongside Congressman Holden, his eight staff and three fellow interns from the US. "It's pretty amazing the opportunities we get through this programme," she stated. "Last year one of the team met Chief Justice Roberts (Chief Justice of the United States) and the Congressman he was interning with, Congressman Peter King had been in congress for 19 years and had never met him; we have an unbelievable opportunity."
Emma added: "I only found out about the programme because someone in my halls did it last year; I had never heard of it at home. I think the initiative is something that's really important; our generation were the ones who have come out of the peace and we're responsible for creating something more and for bringing diversity to Northern Ireland and associating it with something other than conflict." 30 students from across Ireland have been accepted for a six-month programme of personal and professional development, including the eight week internship in Washington D.0 with places in US government, media business and non-profit organisations.
The successful students were chosen from more than 270 applicants.
Emma continued: "Having met everyone on the team I cannot wait to get into the curriculum and to be challenged and encouraged by the diverse range of people in the Class of 2010.
The programme is a fantastic opportunity with many other prestigious placements available and I hope that students from the Lisburn area will apply having now become aware of it. The key thing is looking forward to developing future leaders and to what they can bring."
Megan Farrell, W1P Executive Director, said: "This year's class exemplifies the quality of university students in Northern Ireland and Ireland. All are extremely accomplished and bring a strong sense of service to the programme. We are thrilled to welcome them to the WIP programme and look forward to their time here in Washington." If you would like to track the progress of this year's team, you can read their personal blogs and view photos at the programme's website: www.wiprogram.org. firstname.lastname@example.org