BY DANA REYNOLDS – STAFF WRITER
Economics and finance major Volur Zhang is spending part of his final semester getting a first-hand experience of American politics as an intern for Bill Noelker, the Democratic candidate for District 54, Kentucky House of Representatives. While working in the attorney’s office, Zhang has also been working to promote Noelker’s state representative campaign. This internship has provided him with an opportunity to learn more about and address the needs of the Danville community.
“So far I have learned the major issues and concerns of the residents in our community,” Zhang said. “In addition, I have become familiar with working on a campaign team and I have found that I really enjoy campaigning.”
As a campaign associate, Zhang arranges interviews with the local press, fundraises for the campaign, and recruits volunteers. He is working side-by-side with Noelker in order to generate successful election results.
When talking to Zhang, it is obvious that he is very passionate about politics and staying up to date on current events.
“I hope this internship can further deepen my knowledge and experience in the judicial and political system,” he said. “I am convinced that social justice should be the ultimate goal of our society. Law and politics are the most effective approaches to reach it. To make myself a social justice missionary, I need more experience in campaign and legal studies; therefore, I really hope this internship can bring me some new perspectives and inspirations.”
As an international student from China, Zhang believes that this internship will introduce him to even more aspects of American culture and give him a glimpse into the life of a politician. His internship advisor, Pierce and Amelia Harrington Lively Professor of Politics and Law Dr. Dan Stroup, had a particular interest in working with Zhang.
“I try to accommodate students whenever they ask me to supervise an internship, but I was particularly interested in helping a foreign student gain a first-hand experience with the American political system” Dr. Stroup said. “China, Volhur’s home, is beginning to experiment with democracy—at least, on the very local level—and so this experience with American local politics could be quite interesting and useful to him. Volhur seems to be a born political consultant; he’s already told me about ideas he has for improving Mr. Noelker’s web site.”
So far, Zhang’s favorite part of his internship has been introducing Noelker to the voters. According to Zhang, Noelker is well-known and highly respected in the Danville community.
According to Noelker, he has several things that he hopes Zhang learns through this internship.
“I want Volur to see how the American political system works and I also want him to see how our criminal and civil court systems work,” Noelker, a Centre alum, said. “Volur is providing essential volunteer services and coordination for my campaign.”