Simon Institute Names Jerome Mileur Intern

Simon Institute names Margaretmary Emefiele as Jerome Mileur Intern

Margaretmary Emefiele, a junior from Chicago majoring in political science, has been awarded the Jerome Mileur Internship by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

The internship will send at least one student each spring to Springfield to gain experience working in state government. Priority is given to students majoring in political science, history and journalism. Students who have reached junior status are eligible.

Emefiele said she wants to do public policy analysis dealing with health care issues in a state agency. These agencies are now involved in implementing new federal health care legislation, and, trying to manage rising costs in the state’s Medicaid health care program. Dr. Linda Baker, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Institute, will serve as her mentor in Springfield.

Emefiele is a native of Nigeria who moved to the U.S. at the age of 11. During a study abroad trip to Ghana, she visited Parliament and says: “I realized even more that governance is what I wanted to participate in for a lifetime. Although I support grassroots movements, lobbying and such, decisions that impact lives are ultimately made by people who hold higher positions within institutions.”

After completing her Mileur Internship, she hopes to attend graduate school to earn degrees in public administration as well as diplomacy and international relations.

Jerry Mileur is a southern Illinois native who holds two degrees from SIU Carbondale. A lifelong educator with a passion for teaching, politics and baseball, Mileur retired as chairman of the political science department and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also owned a minor league baseball team for many years.

Mileur serves on the Institute’s Board of Counselors and is the author of books on the St. Louis Cardinals. He also endowed the Morton-Kenney Lecture Series at SIU Carbondale.

Lauren Connor is First Alexander Lane Intern

Lauren Connor First Alexander Lane Intern

Lauren V. Connor, a senior from Maywood, has been awarded the first Alexander Lane Internship by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

Connor, who is majoring in theater with a minor in political science, will receive a $6,000 stipend to work for the Legislative Black Caucus at the Illinois Legislature in Springfield during the spring semester.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson, the chairs of the Legislative Black Caucuses, congratulated Conner on the award during a visit to the Institute. Conner will work under Hutchinson and other leaders. Her mentor during the program will be Dr. Linda Baker, visiting professor at the Institute, who works in Springfield during sessions.

Lane is the first black male student to graduate from SIU Carbondale and the internship was created to honor him. He was born a slave in pre-Civil War Mississippi, moved to southern Illinois as a child and used an opportunity for an education to change his life story. After graduating in the late 1800s, he proceeded to graduate from Rush Medical School and become a doctor in Chicago.

Later, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives where he became one of the first African Americans to serve in that chamber. He is buried in Carbondale.

“Lauren is an impressive person,” said Matt Baughman, the Institute’s associate director who spearheaded creation of the internship. “She will get this program off to a good start and what she learns will benefit her community.”

In her letter of application, Connor said “I have always had the desire to use theater and performance art as a vehicle for social change and justice. I personally feel that both theater and political science are closely related in their attempt to better mankind by empowering people to be the change they want to see in the world.”

She said the arts have a positive impact on the education of children and “one of my career goals is to create an entertainment company that focuses on expanding arts programming for at-risk youth. Using my knowledge of the political and legislative process, I will be more equipped to work with the legislative, cultural and technical details” of that goal.

The endowment fund to honor Lane and finance the annual stipend is accepting continued donations. More than $125,000 in gifts and pledges have been raised to date toward an initial goal of $150,000.

“Lane’s perseverance in overcoming barriers and achieving his goals serves as an inspiration to today’s students,” said Lane biographer Pam Smoot, an assistant professor at SIU. “We are grateful for the support in helping tell the story and to those who have made contributions to send a student looking for opportunity to serve an internship in the Illinois General Assembly in Lane’s name.”