WMU News

Senior wins prestigious fellowship and internship

May 4, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University senior will be learning Washington, D.C., politics from the inside out this summer as he completes a prestigious internship with one of the nation's top lobbying firms.

Tristan Brown of Franklin, Mich., is the University's first Lloyd Meeds Policy Fellow. As part of the new program, Brown will undertake a paid summer internship at Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, a law firm that specializes in public policy and serves as a lobbyist for a broad array of clients. While working with the firm from May 15 to Aug. 15, he will attend congressional and agency hearings, meet regularly with senior policy professionals and work closely with a mentor from among the organization's senior policy staff.

"This fellowship provides an excellent opportunity for a WMU student to learn about Washington politics and lobbying from an insider's perspective," says Melissa Bourke, WMU assistant vice president for legislative affairs. "Tristan has an impressive background in the sciences, and this experience with one of the nation's top lobbying firms will help him launch the career in public policy that he's planning for."

A member of the Lee Honors College, Brown is majoring in environmental studies, as well as creating a Student Planned Major, which will include a curriculum of hard sciences, social sciences and humanities. He has worked as both an assistant and an intern in WMU's Microbial Aqueous Geochemistry Biogeochemistry and Thermodynamics Laboratory, with the internship funded by the National Science Foundation. Brown has also served as an intern for state Sen. Raymond E. Basham. He is in the midst of a two-year fellowship with the Gibbs House for Environmental Research and Education, a living laboratory for students pursuing environmental research and education.

Brown is former president of WMU's Students for a Sustainable Earth, a member of the board of directors of the Kalamazoo Swords into Plowshares Peace Center, and a member of such groups as the Economics Student Association, Western Student Association, Progressive Student Alliance and Physics Club, among others. He has volunteered as a mentor for high-risk students and as a worker in several local, state and national political campaigns. In 2002, Brown studied abroad at Sunway College in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Brown has accumulated an impressive research record for an undergraduate, with five projects funded on topics ranging from water quality to the environment of the Kuala Lumpur region. He has presented his work at the National Science Foundation's REU Symposium and before the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. He has been honored with an academic excellence award from WMU's Environmental Studies Program, three College of Arts and Sciences Research Awards, two Lee Honors College Siebert Undergraduate Research and Travel Grants, and two Lee Honors College Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Awards, among other recognitions.

This is the first year of the Lloyd Meeds Policy Fellowship Program at WMU. Offered through the Department of Political Science, the program is open to qualified students campuswide. To be considered, students must have a 3.5 cumulative grade point average; nine hours of political science course work; strong communication and organizational skills; and an interest in federal legislation, policy and politics. The application process includes the submission of a one-page statement of interest, a resume and an interview with the sponsoring firm.

Brown is also WMU's fourth recipient in the past five years of a prestigious scholarship for environmental studies from the Morris K. Udall Foundation.

Related story
Brown is WMU's fourth Udall Scholar in five years

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400