Alma Adams and Mark Walker run a paid summer internship program.
Twenty-year-old political science majors Dariana Reid, a rising senior at Johnson C. Smith University, and Nasya Blackwell, a rising junior at North Carolina A&T State University, are interning in both a Democratic and a Republican office on the Hill this summer.
They are interns in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship Program, which was established last year. The universities are located in the districts of two North Carolina lawmakers, Democrat Alma Adams and Republican Mark Walker, who teamed up to create the experience.
“While we have philosophical differences in terms of partisan issues that we may have, we are still more alike than we are different,” Adams said. “We’re still working to not only enhance our communities but make things better for the citizens we serve.”
The program spans eight weeks, four spent in Adams’s office and four in Walker’s.
Blackwell, a self-described Democrat, was interviewed on her last day in Walker’s office before her move to Adams’s employ.
“I was a little nervous about going into the Republican office because I am not a Republican, so that would bring up some obvious reservations and nervousness, but my outlook has changed in my thinking that they don’t work together or it’s always a fight or some kind of disagreement,” Blackwell said. “Ultimately, I’ve found that in the end … we want the same things, and we go about it differently.”
Reid was finishing her last day in Adams’s office before switching to Walker’s.
“Initially, I was shocked because I never heard of an internship that’s bipartisan, but I was excited at the same time because [my friends] who have interned, they’ve only been on one side,” Reid said.