To the governor’s office

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Chaniece Williams put the political science degree she earned last month at Longwood University to use beginning June 3 when she reported for work in Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration through the prestigious Governor’s Fellows Program, a Longwood press release cited.

Williams is among the 28 participants selected for the program, joining some of the best and the brightest students in the commonwealth, officials stated in the release. The summer program, which runs through the end of July, offers rising college seniors, graduating seniors and graduate students from across Virginia an opportunity to gain valuable, firsthand experience working under cabinet secretaries and alongside staff in the governor’s office.

“Every summer I look forward to the arrival of the governor’s fellows and the unique experiences, perspective and energy that each one of them brings,” Northam said in the release. “This program aims to cultivate the next generation of Virginia leaders by introducing young Virginians with a desire to serve to the workings of the executive branch and helping them build the skills and relationships to create a positive impact in our commonwealth.”

The release noted that Williams received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Longwood on May 18. Her minor was homeland security, and she aspires to a career working at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, specifically dealing with the issue of immigration.

“I am honored to be included in this group of governor’s fellows and to have the chance to be mentored by these incredible public servants,” Williams said in the release. “The knowledge I will gain from these two months will be invaluable as I move forward in my career path. One of my post-college goals is to make a difference in my community, and I believe this opportunity is one step in my journey toward reaching that goal.”

While at Longwood, Williams was an active student leader on campus, serving in organizations such as Student Educators for Active Leadership, Phi Sigma Alpha, Hispanic Latino Association, Pre-Law Club, Global Leaders and the National Society of Leadership and Success, and as a justice on the Honor and Conduct Board, officials highlighted in the release.

“Being selected as a governor’s fellow speaks volumes about Chaniece’s drive, talent and potential,” Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV said. “As a Longwood student, she grew into an exceptional citizen leader, focused on developing herself as a leader and public servant. We are very proud of her and know she will excel in the fellowship program and beyond.”

Established in 1982 by then-Gov. Charles S. Robb, the fellows program brings exceptional students from colleges and universities across the commonwealth to Richmond for two months to work in state government, the release cited. By working daily alongside policymakers, the students get to experience governance firsthand.

The fellows cultivate and sharpen leadership skills by taking on a variety of tasks and projects — becoming valuable members of the team and tackling real problems. They also learn from special guest speakers from the administration and take field trips across the commonwealth. The program is open to students from Virginia universities or Virginia residents attending college outside the commonwealth.