Skip To Content

News Releases

CELIE Launches Congressional Internship Program for Young Women of Color ​ Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release

Anita Estell
(202) 898-2010

Mashaun D. Simon
Spelman College

celieWASHINGTON, DC (July 19, 2018) - CELIE (the Civic Engagement and Leadership Institute for Everyone) is sponsoring two students from Spelman College, Asia Alexander and DeKiah Baxter as a part of CELIE’s soft launch of its internship program promoting diversity and inclusion on Capitol Hill. The program runs from June 18th through July 27th and is a follow-on to a civic engagement and career program CELIE hosted on Capitol Hill this year in collaboration with Spelman.

Anita Estell, Founder and President of CELIE, explains, “For over seven years, more than 25 Spelman students have come to Washington, DC, annually to participate in a Capitol Hill Day. The students have  an  opportunity  to  shadow  members  of  Congress  and  to  design  and participate in a civic engagement advocacy project. This year, a career seminar was added, and from that event, the need for a congressional internship program intentional on engaging high- potential female college students of color was apparent.”

Estell a former Hill staffer observes, “As a woman of color pioneer in the Washington, DC, lobbying community, I take to heart broadly published findings that confirm the need for more culturally authentic programs that are intentional in addressing issues of “intersectionality” to help ensure women of color, and particularly black women move into more leadership positions and the C-Suite.” The term “intersectionality” refers to a unique set of factors – race, gender and class – that often impede the advancement of black women and other women of color in the workplace.

Estell says she had planned to launch the program in 2019. In light of the enthusiastic interest of the Spelman students and the assistance provided by New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s office, and related efforts of South Carolina Senator Tim Scott seeking to diversify talent on Capitol Hill, she decided to test the model this summer. With the assistance of Senate staff, Lorenzo Olvera and William Reese, and CELIE’s outreach, Alexander and Baxter were placed in the offices of Representatives Al Green (D-TX) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH). In addition to their work on the Hill, the students are producing a weekly federal update “Dear America,” relevant to millennial women of color. Their work will appear in XXTRA Special and Free, an online public affairs publication managed and produced by CELIE to support its women and girls programming and broader engagement work.

The interns’ achievements are exemplary says Estell. “We are familiar with the students at Spelman and welcome opportunities to assist them and other diverse female students to become global citizens and leaders.” CELIE plans to expand its program for next summer.

CELIE is a national 501 (c)(3) organization committed to expanding access and opportunity for all Americans, particularly underserved and multicultural populations. CELIE has three focus areas: civic engagement, women and girls, and diversity and inclusion.

About Spelman College 
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 61 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and author Pearl Cleage. For more information, visit


Spelman College Events CalendarEvents
Spelman College Academic CalendarAcademic

Contact Us

News Center