West Virginia University junior Stephen Marshall is working this semester in Great Britains House of Commons through the support of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
A political science major from Cumberland, Md., Marshall is serving as an aide to Christine Russell, a Labor Party member from Chester, and Helen Southworth, a Labor member from Warrington South. Both of these members were elected in 1997, when the Labor Party took control of the House of Commons.
Marshall has been invaluable to these members during his internship, performing all sorts of tasks far beyond menial office work. His duties have included clerical work, research, letter writing, drafting press releases and campaigning.
“Members of the House of Commons do not enjoy huge office support, so Mr. Marshall has become involved in virtually all aspects of Ms. Russells office: legislative research, constituency service,”said Steve Zdatny, WVU associate professor of history and Parliament internship coordinator.
Marshall said his internship experience has extended the things he learned in the classroom to a real-world setting.
“So far my experience has been amazing,”he said.”It is one of the most challenging and exciting educational experiences of my life. I had taken several classes relating to international relations and comparative political studies at WVU , but nothing could fully prepare me for the arduous task of not only learning the theory and set-up of a different system of government, but also the operation and the way to maneuver around it.”
In addition to his work in the offices of the Labor members, Marshall has also been a guest at the State Opening of Parliament, also known as the Queens Speech. He sat in the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminister and was only an arms length away from Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Phillip. Marshall has been able to sightsee in London, as well as travel to Birmingham, Chester, Northern Wales and Liverpool.
If Prime Minister Tony Blair calls for an election, which is widely expected, then Marshall will spend three weeks in the Northwest of England campaigning.
“This would be my first time working on a national election campaign, so I am very excited about the prospect,”Marshall said.
Marshalls internship has been largely facilitated by financial support from the Deans Office in the EberlyCollege, as well as guidance from Zdatny.
“We are pleased to offer this kind of global experience to a WVU student,”said M. Duane Nellis, dean of the EberlyCollege.”It may be a unique opportunity for a student in the state. If its successful, we will send future students to London.”