MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State freshman Emily Cornwell broke the mold when she accepted an internship position at Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ office in Frankfort, Ky.
Cornwell is a political science major from Mayfield, Ky. who started working ahead her junior and senior year of high school by enrolling in a college course program.
After successfully completing the internship application process and being invited to participate in an interview, the second-semester freshman was selected for the position. She said when she heard about the news she was excited for the opportunity to learn.
“Because there are so many roles that the office serves,” Cornwell said. “I am especially interested in learning how the multiple divisions work cohesively to best serve the other areas of government and the people of Kentucky.”
Cornwell said she thinks her prior experience and enthusiasm to be involved in areas the secretary of state serves is what set her apart as a candidate. The secretary of state serves as Chief Business Official, Chief Advocate for Civic Health and Chief Officer while the office plays many roles in several branches and divisions of government.
“No two days are the same,” Cornwell said. “One day I will be working on tax records, the next we will be in a committee meeting and then we will be across the state at an office event. There is so much to do!”
During the internship, Cornwell has learned how to watch statistics and how reports align with current events. She mentioned the 2016 Civic Health Index, which is a report that measures the state of engagement and civic literacy in Kentucky. The office, along with other organizations, published the index.
“Students such as Emily are excellent ambassadors for the University and we are thrilled she is gaining this first-hand experience with the state government,” said Director of Government Relations, Jordan Smith. “We hope to see more students like Emily taking advantage of the phenomenal opportunities available to them in the State Capitol.”
As for what’s next for Cornwell, she plans on attaining her degree in the next couple years. To fulfill her requirements as an Honors student, she plans on studying abroad. But right now, she is looking forward to other opportunities to further her education by branching out from what is considered traditional.
“One of the best opportunities I’ve had so far is the opportunity to be a part of the Honors College. Being an Honors student provides me with a multitude of opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have access to elsewhere — from being an ambassador to my current internship.”
Cornwell said her career ambitions include getting more involved in civic engagement and community development.