Washington D.C. internships prove invaluable for juniors Ray, Houserman

Release Date: 10/23/2013

University of the Ozarks juniors Stephen Houserman and Cason Ray spent the summer of 2013 living and working in Washington, D.C. as interns for highly competitive programs.

Ray, a junior accounting major from Fort Smith, Ark, attended the Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems. In addition to early admittance, Ray was awarded a scholarship by the Fund for American Studies to help offset his cost.

He credited one of his professors, Associate Professor of Political Science Gilbert Parks, for helping secure the highly competitive internship.

"Professor Parks knew that I was interested in an accounting internship, and he thought that working with economic systems would fit with that interest," Ray said. "He told me about the internship and told me I should apply. Within two weeks, I heard back that I had been accepted with a scholarship."

Ray is not the only student Parks championed for a D.C. internship. Houserman, a political science major and sergeant in the U.S. Marine Reserves, spent his summer at the Institute of Economics and International Affairs.

"I worked for Gannett Government Media Corporation in Springfield, Virginia," Houserman explained. "This is a company that writes newspapers for all Department of Defense personnel, including the military branches. I was assigned as a staff writer for the Marine Corps Times department and I was able to conduct interviews, sit in on congressional hearing at the Capitol, and write my own material."

Originally from Gloversville, New York, Houserman spent five years in active duty in the Marines before enrolling at Ozarks. He plans to pursue a career in international conflict management.

His experiences this past summer provided him with valuable skills and knowledge for his future.

"At first, I was leery of working in a news room because I am not a journalism major," Houserman said. "My true passion is in international affairs. However, the first week I was at Gannett they sent me to the Cannon House of Representatives to report on the Benghazi and Algeria attacks from last year. This was like a dream come true for me, and I was able to watch history in the making."

Houserman actually experienced a measure of fame from one of the articles written during his internship.

"One of my articles went viral on the internet and was picked up by several large news outlets including The New York Post, Washington Post, and the British News outlet Daily Mail, making me syndicated. That was a really fulfilling experience," he said.

Houserman will graduate in 2015 and plans to attend graduate school for international affairs.

"My aspiration is to eventually work at a federal agency such as the CIA or State Department. I've served my country as a Marine Sergeant, and I would like to transition my service to securing the United States' place in an increasingly dynamic international arena," he said.

Ray and Houserman in DC

University of the Ozarks juniors (from left) Cason Ray and Stephen Houserman spent their summer working in highly competitive internship positions in Washington D.C.