WMU News

Junior picked for prestigious governor's internship

May 10, 2005

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University student will spend the summer working closely with Michigan's top official thanks to a program put in place by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Delal Pektas of East Grand Rapids, Mich., a junior and political science student majoring in international and comparative politics, has been selected to take part in Granholm's Michigan Leadership Development Program. Starting in early June, she will spend 10 weeks working with Granholm's personal assistant.

"I'm so excited," says Pektas, who is originally from Turkey and moved to East Grand Rapids with her family when she was 14. "I know it's a highly sought-after program. I'm sure I will learn a lot and it will be a great experience for me. I'm very thrilled."

Pektas is one of 36 interns chosen statewide to take part this summer. Other sessions are held in the fall and winter. Students serve in a wide range of capacities, from the Appointments Division, which recommends candidates for gubernatorial appointments, to the Communications Division, which works with the news media to inform the public about the governor's plans, and the Constituent Services Division, which reviews constituent correspondence and drafts replies.

Granholm started the MLDP in 2003 to seek out and nurture the young people who will one day lead the state. Participants obtain a broad overview of how state government operates and take part in a meaningful, hands-on work experience, interacting with veteran state personnel and senior staffers. The program chooses "from among the best and brightest students and young professionals" for the competitive internships.

"Gov. Granholm's internship program is highly competitive," says Dr. James Butterfield, WMU professor of political science and Pektas' faculty advisor. "Delal will experience the inner workings of Michigan government first-hand. Such internships are not only great learning experiences, but also give law schools, graduate programs and potential employers confidence that they are looking at a high-caliber recruit with practical experience."

Pektas plans to graduate in April 2006 and may continue her education after that.

"I just want to make the most of this opportunity," she says. "After graduation, I may go on to graduate school or enter law school."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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