Sharing the Washington Experience
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Having worked in his Washington, D.C., office, Lorraine Lewis remembers how Sen. John Glenn welcomed staffers to not only author policy memos but also attend committee briefings where he discussed the resulting recommendations.
“As a boss myself moving forward in my own life, I have always tried to live by the same rule,” said Lewis, now executive director of the United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds. “I go out of my way to ensure it’s not just the manager who can come in and do the presentation, but it’s the staffer.”
“I never would have had that kind of experience, working with such an intelligent and energetic world leader as Sen. Glenn, had I not moved to Washington, D.C., and found my way to his Senate office,” said Lewis, who was general counsel of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which Glenn chaired.
Lewis and another former staffer, Eileen Bradner, helped establish and fund the Friends and Former Staff of Senator John Glenn Endowed WAIP Scholarship Fund to provide housing support for students in the Glenn College Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP).
(from left) Former Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa employee Michael Corbell; Eileen Bradner; Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.; and 2019 WAIP intern Megan Ryser meet in Sewell’s office.
WAIP selects outstanding Ohio State undergraduates from any major to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., as John Glenn Fellows. Students earn academic credit for the completion of an internship, policy paper and professional development. The program offers Fellows the opportunity to meet policy professionals, network with Ohio State alumni and explore all that Washington, D.C., has to offer.
“Working in Washington during my college summers was life-changing for me, and I want the next generation to have the same valuable experience,” said Bradner, who served as staff to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which Glenn chaired, and as a legislative assistant in the Senate office. “These scholarships enable students who may not otherwise be able to afford to come to D.C. for a semester to do so."
Lorraine Lewis, second from left, with WAIP mentees (from left) Maggie Ash, Athina Lawson and Ishrat Sanjida at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C., in 2019
Another former staffer, Chris Jennings, set up a matching gift of $25,000 over five years to encourage other former staffers to continue growing the fund, making it possible to add more awards in future years. Jennings, now founder and president of Jennings Policy Strategies Inc., was a professional staff member for the Special Committee on Aging. His match has already been partially met thanks to a recent $10,000 gift in honor of Mary Jane Veno, Glenn’s former chief of staff.
“The more financing support we can secure, the greater the number of extraordinary, life-changing experiences we can provide for our Glenn program interns,” Jennings said. “This won’t just benefit them; if we do it right, it will pay public policy dividend for our nation and its citizens for decades to come.”
“Mike’s and Chris’ careers very much mirror all the dedication and commitment and creativity that Sen. Glenn brought,” Lewis said. “So, they are two shining examples of how their gratitude to Sen. Glenn has shown every day in what they do in their own work and their daily lives.”