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FSU Foursome Forge Political Careers in General Assembly Internships
04/08/2016

FSU Foursome Forge Political Careers in General Assembly Internships
From left, Wesley Hutto, Matt Klevisha, Zach Krizman and Neil Pannell

Four Frostburg State University students have gotten an inside look at how the Maryland General Assembly works thanks to the J. Glenn Beall Institute for Public Affairs at FSU.

Matt Klevisha of Elkton, Zach Krizman of Damascus, Neil Pannell of Edgewater and Wesley Hutto of Clarksburg are all seeing how policymaking works on the state level during the 90-day legislative session.

Each of the students respond to constituents’ questions and concerns, help set up meetings for their legislators, witness House of Delegates and Senate proceedings and help track legislation.

The Beall Institute was created by gifts through the FSU Foundation from the late Beall, a U.S. senator from 1971 to 1977, his family and others. Since 2005, the Beall Institute has assisted and financially supported students with opportunities to serve in the General Assembly in Annapolis and on Capitol Hill in Washington. A stipend helps defray living expenses.

Krizman sees his college lectures come to life inside the office of Sen. Stephen Hershey Jr., who represents District 36 on the Eastern Shore.

“You read a textbook, and it’s not really a tangible thing you can learn,” Krizman says. “Here, it’s living what they’re teaching.”

And nothing is more engaging for Krizman than floor debates; the law & society major wants to be a civil rights attorney.

“The best thing I like to do is going to Senate proceedings and seeing all the senators debate on certain bills,” he says. “I like making arguments, and I get to see them out there essentially doing what I see myself doing in the future.”

Pannell was inspired to get involved by Beall Institute Executive Director Tim Magrath, a member of the Political Science faculty.

“His enthusiasm and passion for it were really infectious,” Pannell said. “He talked about how you have more power to (create) change at the state level than voting for a president every four years.”

Pannell hopes that his time in Annapolis will help his aspirations to go into law enforcement and create reformed practices. He says his time shadowing Del. Kirill Reznik of Montgomery County helps him realize that state politicians have a working life outside of their 90 days in session.

“I couldn’t wrap my head around it that this isn’t their core job,” Pannell says. “It got rid of the stigma that all politicians are career politicians.”

Hutto has an advantage in Del. Wendell Beitzel’s office where Christopher Lokey, a 2014 FSU graduate, works as a legislative assistant for the lawmaker who represents Garrett and Allegany counties.

“It’s awesome because he’s already been working the past two years for Del. Beitzel, so he’s used to everything,” Hutto says. “He’s met a lot of constituents from that area and can really connect with them. It’s a lot of insider insight.”

Hutto, a political science and law & society double major who hopes to run for office one day, likes that he can effect change in his home state through his internship.

“I felt like I’d still be able to do something that will make an impact in the state that I live in,” he says. His interest in local government and politics has him working with the City of Gaithersburg Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture during the summers, too.

As Hutto is discovering in Annapolis, negotiations can happen as much at dinners and receptions as anywhere, helping break up work done behind the desk.

“I didn’t know how heavily influenced decisions could be made outside of the office,” he says.

Klevisha, an economics major, is exploring a career in politics using his business and finance acumen. He is spending time in Sen. George Edwards’ office, where he’s experiencing what his advisor, Economics Professor Dr. Anthony Stair, taught him about how to advance his career: It’s who you know and what you know.

“With an economics degree I feel I can go into many fields,” Klevisha says. “It’s helping meeting a lot of people down here who are well-educated and well-experienced in D.C. and in the business world.”

He was impressed to see how a lawmaker can handle the priorities of Western Maryland residents on a state level, “like how a senator who represents so many people in such a large district can help the little people out,” Klevisha says. “They can really use their power to help out normal people.”

Klevisha was introduced to the opportunity through a field trip by the Beall Institute that opened his eyes to the possibilities.

“I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come down here if it weren’t for the Beall Institute and the stipend it provides,” Klevisha says.

To learn more about the Beall Institute, contact Tim Magrath at tmagrath@frostburg.edu or 301-687-4080. To support the Beall Institute through the FSU Foundation, call 301-687-4161 or visit www.frostburg.edu/foundation/ways-to-give.

- by Charles Schelle

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For further information on this release, contact:

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Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
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