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SIU political science internship being renamed for Barb Brown

  • Barb Brown

    Barb Brown
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updated: 10/4/2017 10:10 AM

An internship offered by Southern Illinois University - Carbondale's Department of Political Science is being renamed to honor the legacy and memory of Barb Brown.

The Barb Brown Springfield Internship, which is a paid internship, will place well-qualified students with government agencies, select elected officials, political interest groups and lobbying organizations during the spring semester to coincide with the state's legislative session.

"The family is honored that the university would remember Barb and all the hard work she did to try and enable kids from southern Illinois to have an opportunity," said 20th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Brown, Barb's husband. "I personally know how many hours she donated without pay to give students from the university opportunities to gain experience in public sector and government jobs."

The internship honors Brown, a SIU alumnus and former political science lecturer for more than 30 years who passed away in May 2016 after a longtime illness.

"I'm sure there's many internships today that were started by Barb," Richard Brown said. "When she'd press on them that these kids from southern Illinois need an opportunity and you could use the help, let these kids work for you for a semester to get the experience."

Barb Brown was Randolph County's circuit clerk from 2000 to 2012, a co-founder and former president of the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership; vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois; co-founder and president of the Southwestern Illinois Democratic Women and founder and president of Southern Illinois Democratic Women.

Brown helped establish the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Randolph County, served on the Chester Public Library Board of Trustees, started and led Chester Aces 4-H club, and was a longtime Rotary International member and an organizing member of the Daughters of the American Revolution Liberty of the West chapter.

Additionally, she was former chairwoman of the Randolph County Democratic Central Committee and treasurer for the Pierre Menard Democrat Club.

Nationally, Brown was a nine-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention, a two-time candidate for 58th State Senate District and served roles in the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"She was successful largely because of the many contacts and friends she had throughout the state of Illinois," Richard Brown said.

The internship is open to junior and senior political science majors and includes students who have a double major.

Students can receive up to 15 hours of academic credit. Interns will perform a variety of tasks, including legislative and policy research, committee monitoring and other activities focused on lobbying.

Randy Burnside, associate professor, is program director. For more information, contact Burnside at 618-453-3174 or burnside@siu.edu.

Barb Brown has also had a memorial scholarship set up in her name through the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU. The deadline to apply for that scholarship is Dec. 1 and more information is available at https://siu.academicworks.com/opportunities/13304.

- SIU Media Services contributed to this report.