Four from The U receive prestigious U.S. Department of State national internship awards

USD one of only 15 participating institutions nationwide

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Four students from The University of South Dakota have qualified for U.S. Department of State internships for summer 2009. The U was selected as one of only 15 institutions nationwide by the U.S. Department of State for their prestigious Internship Fellows Program, which will award paid domestic internships to Colin Eilts of Vermillion, Heather Fluit of Sioux Falls, S.D., Patrick Geary of Sheridan, Wyo., and Tom Kludt of Huron, S.D.

All four students are members of the University Honors Program. A senior majoring in international studies, French and political science, Eilts presently serves as a senator on Student Government Association. A Hansard Society Scholar, he worked for Conservative MP David Gauke in the British Parliament’s House of Commons while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2007. Fluit, a junior political science major, is managing editor of The Volante, USD’s student newspaper since 1887. She was also a recipient of a Department of Contemporary Media & Journalism Norma Lewis Brown Scholarship. Geary, a senior history and political science major, studied Arabic in Tunisia this past summer as a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship for Intensive Summer Institutes, and Kludt, who is a junior political science and history major, was an intern for Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., last summer and an intern for Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, D-S.D., in 2007. He also attended the Democratic National Convention in August through The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

Fluit and Geary have been invited to participate in a meeting with Secretary of State Condolezza Rice on Jan. 12, 2009, to represent the 2009 Internship Fellows Program. In addition to a photo opportunity with Rice, the students will receive an Operations Center tour and a briefing with State Department officials. USD was one of only six universities invited to send participants for the meeting with the Secretary of State. The Internship Fellows Program awards paid domestic internships to students exhibiting strong academic performance and who demonstrate potential to succeed in foreign affairs careers. The U.S. Department of State’s internship program is one of the most widely-respected and competitive internships in the country. Interns are given professional-level work assignments, including assisting American citizens, attending meetings and writing reports, or conducting research to assist where needed wherever they are assigned.