Lincoln, Nebraska – Dylan Dittman, first-year student at Peru State, is working at the Nebraska State Capitol this spring as an intern Senator Rick Kolowski of District 31. Dittman’s internships is paid under the new Senator Floyd and Doris Wagner Vrtiska Nebraska Unicameral Internship.
Peru State College has offered a paid internship at the state capital each legislative session since 2003, with funds provided through a campus work study program. However, the increases in minimum wage and the demands on the work study program threatened the unicameral internship funding. Former State Senator Floyd Vrtiska stepped forward with a contribution to endow the internship and provide a permanent source of funding for students from Peru State who are seeking experience at the state government level.
Dr. Sara Crook, Professor of History, oversees the unicameral internship program. “The capital internship program is important for students who gain valuable first-hand experience in Nebraska’s unicameral.”
“It is also valuable for Peru State College to have visibility at the capitol building during the legislative session as an institution supported by state funding. It is a win-win for the college and for the students who gain this unique experience.” Students apply for the Vrtiska Nebraska Unicameral Internship through the Social Sciences Department.
Dittman said, “Most of the work I am doing in the Senator’s office involves filing bills and organizing information on constituent issues or bills. Doing this kind of work allows the other office staff to focus on more pressing issues and work,” said Dittman.
“When I’m not working in the office, I go sit in on various committee hearings. It is interesting to see the process of these hearings and how passionate people are about certain bills and issues.”
Dittman, is a native of Omaha and graduate of Millard North High School. He is a Social Science major and plans to become a high school socials studies teacher and football coach.
“Working here has allowed me to gain up close experience that would be impossible to get anywhere else,” adds Dittman. “The biggest thing I have learned would have to be the process of legislation in Nebraska and what makes us unique compared to other states. Learning more about what makes Nebraska work and how we are unique is a valuable lesson that I can take to my future students.”
Floyd Vrtiska served in the Nebraska Unicameral as the representative of District 1 from 1992-2004. As a state senator, he was a strong advocate for Peru State College. He secured funding for an expansion of Hoyt Science Building, and he served on the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees and the Peru State College Foundation Board of Directors. He was also very active on numerous other local, county and state boards.
The Senator Floyd and Doris Wagner Vrtiska Nebraska Unicameral Internship is administered by the Peru State College Foundation. The Peru State College Foundation manages approximately 140 endowed and non-endowed funds that provide scholarships and other support to Peru State College students, faculty and staff.
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Becca Jewell contributed to this release.
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