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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: May 16 , 2007


Four outstanding Santa Monica College students have been selected for the prestigious Dale Ride Internship program and will serve this summer in the U.S. Congress or with Washington D.C.-based lobbyists.

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.

Each intern receives funding to cover housing, transportation and $1,500 in spending money. The funding this year comes from the following sponsors: Dale Ride Family Fund, which sponsors two interns; and the SMC Foundation President's Circle and Stratton-Petit Foundation, each of which sponsors one intern.

In addition, the SMC Associates, a community relations support organization that funds speakers and special programs on campus, provides $500 to each intern.

The program has sent 58 students (excluding this year's group) to the White House, Congress and other agencies in the past 15 years.

The interns and their assignments are:

 Natasha Behnam of Beverly Hills , who will work in the office of the late U.S. Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D- Los Angeles ). Although Millender-McDonald's seat is vacant, her offices in the nation's capital and in California continue to serve constituents in her district under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. A psychology major and honor student, Behnam has been active in extracurricular and volunteer activities with such organizations as Club Kulanu Israel , Ocean House Retirement Home, Cedars Sinai Medical Center , American Red Cross and the Hersch Family Soup Kitchen.

Kelsey Claire of Los Angeles , who will serve with U.S. Rep. Diane Watson ( D-Culver City ). Claire, who has not yet decided on a major, is a dean's list and honor roll student who is also a soccer Most Valuable Player and volunteer at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica.

Johann Lim of Santa Monica , who will serve with Blue Wave Strategies, a lobbyist group in Washington whose projects involve renewable energy, sustainability and green design. An international business major who hails from Singapore , Lim is a dean's list student who has been active in both of SMC's honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Gamma Sigma.

Mitsuo Yoshizawa of Santa Monica , who will intern with Gage Business Consulting & Government Affairs, a lobbyist that does much work with the U.S. Commerce Department. A political economy major from Japan , Yoshizawa is a dean's list student who has been active with the SMC International Student Forum and the two campus honor clubs, Alpha Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa. He plans to transfer this fall to one of three universities that have accepted him: UCLA, USC and the University of California at Berkeley.

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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