Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lamardo Davis stood outside the UNC Charlotte Center City building with the city's skyline behind him. As he smiled, he tried to envision how his life will change when he worked as a Washington Center intern at the Democratic National Convention.

"My big hope is to have access to the floor," said the 21-year-old UNC Charlotte student from Miami, who is majoring in communications studies and public advocacy."I really hope to have a chance to network with a lot of people. I see this as a great opportunity to sharpen my communications skills."

Davis is one of 10 students from UNC Charlotte who were chosen to participate in a DNC academic internship through the Washington Center in Washington, D.C. In all, about 120 students from across the country are participating in the internship program at the DNC, which opens on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Davis, a self-described political junkie, said he will be working in security during the convention. Others will write blogs for national media outlets or as runners for the Host Committee. Some will even get credentials to cover the event. 

"I think this is an excellent opportunity for the University and particularly for students such as myself," Davis said. "Anyone who has the opportunity to do this should do it."

UNC Charlotte political science professor Eric Heberlig said Davis and his peers have good reason to be excited.

"I compare it to someone who is a big fan of football. For them, it's a lot of fun to go to a high school game or a college game," he said. "For a political junkie, this is like going to the Super Bowl."

Another intern, Susan Ireri, 23, of Raleigh, joked that she hoped to get a chance to meet President Obama on Thursday, when he is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium.

"It's also my birthday, so that would be a nice present," she said.

Turning serious, Ireri said the experience she will gain as an intern at the major political event will pay dividends for the rest of her career.

"I think it will set me apart from some other students when I graduate and start looking for my first real job or apply to graduate school," she said. "I hope someday to make a career in politics and I think a lot a lessons I will get here will prove to be invaluable."

Photo: Charlotte Chamber executive director Bob Morgan talks with TWC interns.