Kentucky State University senior Olivia Burkett could have spent her summer doing a number of things—or doing nothing at all. But instead of having a relaxing summer off, the Lexington criminal justice major spent time participating in two selective educational enrichment programs.
The Lexington native spent part of her summer in Chicago as a participant the Chicago-Kent PLUS Prelaw Scholars program. “I was taking real law classes and making several connects in the legal field,” she says.
The three-week summer institute was designed to introduce participants to law school and the legal profession; provide them with substantive skills to strengthen their preparation for law school; and educate and prepare them for the law school application and admission process.
“I have an extreme passion for law and politics,” Burkett says. “Last year I volunteered at the capital, working with Representative John Tilley and his staff, and fell in love with learning the way our legislative system works. I wanted to become more involved, and learn the ins and outs of it all.”
Immediately after completing the prelaw program, Burkett flew to California to participate in the Middlebury Summer Language Program for Italian— a seven-week immersion program where she was unable to speak English for the duration. “I would highly recommend both programs to any student who is interested in law or wants to learn another language,” she says.
Burkett is president of the campus Prelaw Society and founder of a nonprofit organization called Good Trouble. This semester, Burkett will continue her studies as one of three KSU students selected as interns in the Legislative Research Commission Intern Program.
“The LRC Intern Program has been in existence since 1970 and was developed, in consultation with various university academic personnel, as a full semester program,” says Sheila Mason, Legislative Record Compiler and Intern Coordinator for the LRC program.
Students pay tuition to their schools, but spend the semester studying and working at the capital.
“Again, in consultation with academic personnel, the program has been modified over the years to enhance the rigor and expectations of the student interns,” says Mason. “In addition to two formal classes taught here at the capital, students also work full-time with LRC committee and administrative staff.”
The 2016 intern class will have 18 students selected from ten Kentucky public and independent universities. Burkett says she looks forward to everything from drafting bills to discussing policy and meeting attorneys and legislators.