Seminole State College of Florida honors student Josh Nawrocki loves to talk politics.
“I love to debate, and I’m never shy about saying my opinions on different issues,” says Nawrocki, of Largo.
He has worked on several campaigns and hopes to run for office someday.
“I plan on running for state representative,” says Nawrocki, 19, “but my ultimate goal is the U.S. Congress.”
So when Nawrocki heard about the Republican National Convention Seminar, it was a no-brainer: He applied right away. Now he’s one of three Seminole State honors students who’ll be attending the GOP National Convention in Tampa Aug. 27-30 under the auspices of The Washington Center, an independent nonprofit that offers students opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., for credit.
“The Washington Center hires world-renowned academicians to conduct seminars for college students from all around the country,” explains Dr. Debra Socci, director of the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute. “This is a presidential election year, so they’re offering convention seminars for both parties. Because Tampa is so close, it made sense for the College to sponsor students interested in the GOP event.”
Seminole State’s Student Affairs Division is paying the program fee for Kevin Heckle, 19, of Oviedo; the Honors Institute is sponsoring Dominic Homac, 19, of Altamonte Springs; and state Rep. Chris Dorworth is sponsoring Joshua Nawrocki. In addition, the Honors Institute and Pi Lambda, the College’s PTK chapter, paid for housing for all three students.
Nawrocki, Homac and Heckle will be blogging from the convention, describing their experiences and offering their perspectives on the platform, speeches and other convention business. Their blog will be available on the Honors Institute's Tumblr site.
The students were selected by The Washington Center based on their application essays and transcripts. In addition to the weeklong seminar, Socci says, the students will take a three-credit class at Seminole State as part of their convention experience.
The seminar’s first week, which starts Aug. 18, is intensive, Socci says. “The students will learn about the campaigns and about convention procedures so they’re familiar with the process. During the convention itself, each student will be assigned an internship position.”
Homac says his internship, or “field work,” will involve attending the committees that will establish the party’s 2012 platform. Homac, who plans to study international relations or law, wants to “see how issues from interest groups are integrated into a platform, and how the party formulates its agenda based on its interest groups.”
For Heckle, who plans to attend law school and become a judge, the seminar will be “a great networking opportunity for me to meet people in politics and learn about the tricks of the trade.”
The seminar will be a sort of homecoming for Nawrocki. He spent his junior year of high school in the Congressional Page Program, attending classes in the Library of Congress and working in the House of Representatives every day.
“The convention is historic,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to live history.”
The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute offers enrichment programs for academically talented students wishing to enhance their experience at Seminole State College of Florida. Through its honors certificate, honors diploma and science diploma programs, the Institute serves more than 170 students a year on the College's Sanford/Lake Mary and Oviedo campuses. For more information, please visit the Honors Institute online.