The nation’s capital has been Ariel Miles’ classroom this semester.
The senior Political Science and Criminal Justice double major from Williamstown, NJ, is interning for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, through the Washington Internship Program. She is researching expiring appropriations and bills passed in the last lame-duck session to help the institution strategically plan its efforts.
She was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy during a recent celebration of the Washington Internship Program’s 40th anniversary. The check was presented by Ambassador William J. Hughes, for whom the center is named.
“It was a great and much needed surprise,” Miles said, who had no idea that a larger-than-life sized check would be presented to her onstage.
The Hughes Center scholarship program was established in 2011 to help defray costs for students who are interning through the Washington Internship Program.
“This experience is the best thing I have ever done. I am getting to do work and research that is actually meaningful and I can see what my office is doing with it and where it is going. I just worked on a project for the president of The Heritage Foundation. You just can’t beat that in my book,” Miles said of her internship so far.
After graduation, Miles hopes to work at the capital for a few years before going after her ultimate goal: becoming a campaign manager.
“I love elections and reading about them. Election night is like waking up on my birthday for me, but a thousand times better,” she said.
With 2,000 phone calls, 20,000 door-knocks, 10,000 literature drops and 3,000 signs under her belt from working on a number of local campaigns, including those of Gov. Chris Christie, former Assemblyman John Amodeo and Assemblyman Chris Brown, she is well on her way.
“I have dreamed of going to Washington to intern since my first semester at Stockton when I found out about the Washington Center program, but I didn’t think I could do it, get in and find an internship. I never thought I was good enough and it was my mom who made me apply,” she said.
She also credits Dawn Ireland, Missy Delany and Jake Lehneis of the Stockton Mailroom for their encouragement, her County Republican Vice-Chair Phyllis Martin for believing in her and Dr. Michael Rodriguez, associate professor of Political Science, who coordinates the D.C. internship program.
Of Dr. Rodriguez, she said, “Without him I wouldn’t be in D.C. He is one of the best professors that Stockton has and not just in the classroom, but outside of it and as a preceptor.”
Before being accepted to the Washington Internship Program, Miles interned for Assemblyman Domenic DiCicco in Washington Township and served as a constituent relations intern for Gov. Christie.
Miles is a student worker in the Stockton College Mailroom, founded a campus chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity of which she is president, and is a Student Senate member on the Legislative Policy and Governmental Affairs Committee. She has worked as an Argo staff writer, served as a board member for the College Republicans, served as vice president and president of Stockton’s Hillel group and has volunteered more than 150 hours through Stockton Neighborhood Watch. She was a 4-H volunteer for many years and showed rabbits professionally with the American Rabbit Breeders Association.