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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: May 25, 2006


Three outstanding Santa Monica College students have been selected for the prestigious Dale Ride Internship program and will serve in the U.S. Congress this summer.

The interns – who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests – will gain valuable experience through the eight-week summer internship program, believed to be unique for a community college. Interns receive stipends to cover transportation, housing and other expenses.

The program – which in 14 years has sent 55 students (excluding this year's group) to the White House, Congress and other agencies – is sponsored by the Dale Ride Family Fund , SMC Foundation President’s Circle, Stratton-Petit Foundation, and the SMC Associates, a community relations support organization that funds speakers and special programs on campus.

The interns and their assignments are:

Sadia Afolabi of Beverly Hills, who will be in the office of U.S. Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Torrance). A political science major, Afolabi hails from Togo in West Africa and is the president of the SMC Associated Students. She is also a member of the Pan African Student Union and the college’s honor societies Alpha Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa. She is transferring either to UCLA or Occidental College in Eagle Rock this fall and plans to work for UNICEF as a lawyer, defending the rights of children.

Ryuji Ogida of Santa Monica, who will serve in the office of U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk). A communications major who is from Osaka, Japan, Ogida Ogida will transfer this fall to UCLA, UC Berkeley or USC. He hopes to have a career dedicated to battling conflicts, discrimination and war through improvements in mass media. He is a member of the college’s honor societies Alpha Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa.

Elisha Saad of Santa Monica, who will serve with U.S. Rep. Diane Watson (D-Culver City). Originally from Mobile, Ala., she plans to be an attorney and work to increase political participation and access. A political science major, she has a perfect 4.0 grade point average and will return to SMC this fall.
The internship program was established in 1991 in the memory of a man who had a long and distinguished career as an educator, administrator and public servant. Ride taught political science and served in administrative posts at SMC for 33 years until his death in September 1989 at the age of 67.

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