In May 1993, State Senator Royce West officially established the Senatorial District 23 Internship Program, an internship program through a partnership with Paul Quinn College and the Texas Veterans Land Board to help Paul Quinn College students with acquiring (paid) employment experience.

He soon discovered that many students, not only those at Paul Quinn College but others in Senatorial District 23, had difficulty finding and participating in internship programs. Most of the internships offered to the students were non-paid. Many college students in the area raised a large portion of their college expenses through non-degree related employment. In addition, several students contacted the office and expressed concerns that they were being left out of the employment seeking process because they had no viable employment experience that corresponded to their majors and educational accomplishments.

This dilemma was brought to the attention of the program; it was officially renamed and dedicated the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program on August 11, 1993 in honor of the renowned Dallas African –American physician, civic leader and education activist.

Dr. Conrad was committed to equal and accessible education for all students. This commitment manifested in his being elected the first African-American Board of Trustee member of the Dallas Independent School District. He was appointed to the Select Committee of Public Education (SCOPE). The SCOPE committee proposed a number of reforms to improve the quality of education in Texas including the controversial NO PASS, NO PLAY Rule and the TECAT examinations. Dr. Conrad was also elected to the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) in 1984 and was serving a third term at the time of his death. His widow, Eleanor Conrad, served out his term on the SBOE.

Mrs. Conrad and daughter, Dr. Cecilia Conrad, are staunch supporters and patrons of the program.

The internship is a continuation of the Conrad’s commitment to education and embodies Senator West’s belief that all students no matter what creed, color, sex, age, religion, economic status, etc., are afforded every opportunity to succeed. In addition, the program has been modified to include various leadership building components, self-improvement seminars and community service projects.

The assigned length of an internship includes the summer months, June-August.

Twenty-seven students were placed in 1993 with nine original sponsors.

Participation in the community service projects and other related events is a criterion for the awarding of scholarships and re-application to the program. Non-participation in related events and/or community service projects will negatively impact an intern’s evaluation and ability to reapply.

Interns are evaluated by their employers. Students who do not receive satisfactory evaluations or receive any disciplinary reports will be barred from the program. If placed, an intern must adhere to all rules/regulations set forth by the employer including, but not limited to, appropriate usage of computers and equipment, and Internet access.

Competition for the internships is intense. The better the applicant’s grades, major related skills, and attitude, the better the applicant’s chances of placement.

Since 1993, more than 2,500 placements have been made with many of the students returning each year until graduation. The Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program Alumni Association (those who have graduated) is very active with the interns with mentoring, volunteering, and continuing with keeping the program viable and giving back through community service.

The experiences and varying levels of responsibility offered to the sponsors are designed to complement the student’s major program of study.

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