Centenary Number I Serves as Governor’s Fellow
Though Covid-19 limited what many of us did last summer, Patrick Riley (Alpha Iota–Centenary ’19) spent part of the summer months participating in the 2020 Governor’s Fellows Program in Louisiana Government in Baton Rouge. A senior and a political science major at Centenary, and the president of Alpha Iota, Riley underwent an arduous application process to become part of the program, which offers those who are accepted the opportunity to experience public policy in action, learn about Louisiana politics from both a historical and current affairs perspective, and earn three hours of academic credit.
Riley explained how he was chosen for the position. “I got the fellowship by sending in an application and being selected to continue with the process after two rounds of interviews,” he said. “Previously I have worked for two KA alumni who are partners at a law firm here in Shreveport, Paul Strickland (Alpha Gamma–Louisiana State ‘76) and David Smelley (Gamma Alpha–Louisiana Tech ‘69), who both recommended me for the position.” Riley was also encouraged to apply for the program by Dr. Mark Leeper, assistant professor of political science at Centenary and a member of the Louisiana State Board of Election Supervisors. Leeper provided a letter of recommendation as well, and Riley took part in a demanding application process that included writing an essay and appearing for three interviews, including a final interview with Governor John Bel Edwards’ chief of staff.
The tenets and lessons of professional conduct that Riley has taken from being a KA were useful in working with his peers and the governor’s staff during the fellowship. “Being one of a dozen interns in the program, I was able to utilize the teamwork and camaraderie skills that I’ve learned through my time in KA,” he said. “I have seen brothers in my chapter, and around the country, push themselves to uphold the high standard of what it means to be a KA. Because of this, being a KA is an additional reason to push myself towards opportunities like this, so that I can represent my chapter and the Order in the best light possible.”
“KA has reinforced the values that I was raised with,” he continued, “such as the importance of giving back to my community. Being able to work towards bettering my home state of Louisiana was a great opportunity to exhibit this. The experience and the skills that I gained working for KA alumni like Mr. Strickland and Mr. Smelley, where I learned the value of the KA brotherhood and the great opportunities that it can lead to, supplied me with the foundation necessary for the fellowship. I realize how blessed I have been to work and learn under alumni who taught me the value of passing on KA connections and giving back to the Order.”
After college, Riley said that he plans to enter the field of law himself. “I hope to finish law school and pass on the lessons and value of being a KA to others, just as I was given by Mr. Strickland and Mr. Smelley at their firm.”