Emory students serve in the Georgia legislature

“This legislature had an Emory doctor guest who spoke about biomarkers and why it’s important for insurance to cover testing for them. And one patient said she wouldn’t be here without this test.”

It was a proud day in the life of Emlyn Langlieb, Manager of Government Affairs at Emory’s Office of Government and Community Affairs (OGCA) and a 2022 graduate of Emory College of Arts and Sciences. An invaluable preparation for her career included an internship at State Senator Elena Parent, who represents District 42, which includes portions of central and northern DeKalb County, including Emory’s Atlanta campus.

Through positions in her office, Parent has instilled in a steady stream of Emory students a sense of government service that sometimes lasts a lifetime and almost always develops key skills or sparks new interests.

“I’m so fortunate to have a world-class university in my district. Emory has been a great partner and resource,” says Parent. “My office now relies on the excellent Emory students who are interested and passionate about our political system. They assist with political analysis, speeches, voter communications and social media, all of which are essential to my work as a state senator.”

Langlieb began working at Emory on the first day of the 2022 legislature. “I took the adage of learning something new every day to the extreme on this day,” she laughs, acknowledging that the pace at the Georgia general assembly is beyond frantic.

After the convincing testimony of the doctor and patient from Emory, Langlieb called her mother and shared the big news, but also brought her an unspoken thank you.

Langlieb’s family talks a lot about finding their way in the world. She was surprised to find out that this was no ordinary family dinner talk. “My parents taught me to be open and see where life takes you,” she says.

During her business studies at Emory University, she completed an internship at Parent in the spring of 2020 and considers them a role model. Langlieb was tasked with helping create the newsletters produced by the Parents’ Office and says, “It was exciting to give someone an important piece of knowledge that would help them solve a problem they were having.” Something clicked and I felt like I was making a difference.”

Langlieb now sees her work at OGCA as “an opportunity to help both Georgia and Emory,” and says some things haven’t changed since she was an intern.

“Surrounded by experts who have done everything before, I just try to absorb everything,” she explains.

The Emory DNA

There’s no shortage of Emory students interested in trying out government service, and OGCA Vice President Cameron Taylor, herself a graduate student, has some thoughts on why.

“Emory has a long history of public service, whether it be the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity, or anything else. It feels like something in our DNA, both in the way we select the students who come here and in the way we nurture those interests,” she says.

Taylor got her first bite of this apple in high school while doing an internship with Congresswoman Pat Schroeder.

“It was great to learn from her because it was the 1980s and she was the first woman on the House Armed Services Committee to break the norms of Capitol Hill. That was the beginning of my admiration for public service,” says Taylor.

“Over the years, I’ve helped Emory alumni find jobs all over Capitol Hill. The Hill is a place where you can progress quickly, so it gives me great satisfaction to see how my mentees are doing,” she says.

In fact, Taylor describes a recent meeting that was standard for her office and was attended by ten current Woodruff and Emory fellows who had the opportunity to meet alumni who were also scientists and are now working on Capitol Hill. After the interview, a good half reported that they were thinking about an internship.

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College student Avery Rosen plans to stay in Atlanta after graduating to “do the grassroots work that happens here,” work for a think tank in Washington DC, or go to law school.

Part of what motivates law student Alyssa Achiron to intern with the Georgia government is her belief that “you can’t pursue a career path without first getting the job done.”

Law student Lauren McHenry is working with the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division this summer and is excited to “help the public.”

Alumna Emlyn Langlieb has worked for her home district Congresswoman Jon Ossoff, a lobbyist, and Georgia State Senator Elena Parent. Now she serves as Emory’s manager of state affairs.

The latest capable parenting assistants

Avery Rosen 25C completed a credit internship at her parents’ office this past spring semester. Rosen is studying quantitative theory and methods in the Political Analysis major and is also studying Middle East and South Asian Studies. He came to Emory in part because it offers meaningful opportunities to be politically active.

“The Young Democrats of Emory were one of the first communities I joined on campus, and everyone — including upper-class students — was so welcoming,” notes Rosen. After serving as the group’s director of voter engagement last year, she will begin work as vice president in the fall.

Rosen participated in Jen Jordan’s campaign for Georgia Attorney General, conducting donor research and planning fundraisers. It was an all-women-led campaign, of which Rosen says, “It was such an empowering place to work and for such a good cause.”

Interested in politics, Rosen was eager to intern in Parent’s office, doing social media work, researching the senator’s talking points, and editing videos.

Because Parent often takes the time to talk to Emory’s young Democrats, Rosen had met Parent several times before. As chair of the Georgia Senate Democratic Caucus, Parent has won Rosens admiration for “being the face of a lot of what happens in the Senate.”

Rosen’s tenure in Parent’s office ended with the recent conclusion of the legislature; She’s looking forward to a semester abroad in London at King’s College School of Public Policy, but wants to be back on familiar ground during the primary.

Alyssa Achiron has just completed her second year at Emory School of Law and spent a semester learning the basics of the legislative process from Parent and her team as part of a law internship abroad.

“By submitting my resume to Senator Parent’s office,” she notes, “I was hoping to find out if I was interested in making a difference through politics. Would being a lawyer be enough for me?”

As part of her master’s degree, Achiron focused on political science and gender studies. What drew her to the law, she says, “was the ability to make a difference, especially for women.”

Achiron did research for Parent, helped with speeches, took her to the Legislative Council to discuss the wording of certain bills, and attended committee meetings when the senator was too busy.

“I chose this job,” says Achiron, “because Senator Parent is very vocal in the well about things that are close to her heart. I like the issues she is fighting for — education, gender issues, and abortion rights.”

Achiron welcomed the opportunity to “get out of the law school bubble.” Working for Senator Parent has deepened my bond with where I live. It’s not always easy to make that connection as a student, but this job made it possible.”

Lauren McHenry has many interests; In her words, it was “a little daunting” to narrow her down.

She worked on a justice campaign as a student at the University of Central Arkansas and describes herself as something of a political geek, saying, “Normal 17-year-olds don’t talk to their parents about the Supreme Court case history.”

McHenry just completed her second year at Emory Law. In three different capacities, in Arkansas and here, McHenry has conducted juvenile justice work. Speaking of her service with the Fulton County Children’s Advocate, McHenry says, “I will always appreciate the work you do, but I can’t be on the front lines. I don’t have the heart to do that every day.”

McHenry’s work at Parent’s law firm was also a legal internship. Describing Parent and the staff around her as an inspiration, she says, “They care about the problems, they know their stuff and they’re always ready to throw themselves headfirst into things.”

Her role was to be the expert on the jurisprudence who could be of help in all political decisions. Like Achiron, she wrote notes on bills under consideration and asked questions like: Have we had bills like this in the past? If so, do they work? Do they cause more harm than good? Are there similar statues in other states? If yes, how are they written?

It always ends with a bang

McHenry might have put it best when she noted that a legislative session is “four months of monumental change and exodus”.

And the solution is even more strenuous: First, there’s “Crossover Day,” which occurred on March 6 — the last day that bills must pass either the House or Senate in order to move forward in that session.

Then came Sine Die on March 30th. The Latin phrase, meaning “without a day,” means to policy observers the end of a legislature without a specific date set for the next session. Sine Die, says McHenry, often bleeds into the next day and “could easily require some Red Bull.”

The state media closely monitors the bills that have passed – and those that haven’t. Fortunately, the Georgia Lemonade Act was passed due to parental intervention.

The need for such legislation arose when a constituent of Parent found that his children’s lemonade business was illegal under Georgian law. Gov. Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 55 into law on May 3rd, allowing young entrepreneurs to cool us down in the tried and tested way.

Taylor never tires of making connections between the Emory community and the government, saying: “We are delighted that students – as well as faculty and staff – Contact our team to learn more about our work.”

“The Emory students I’ve met over the years are upbeat and fearless. They would be ideal civil servants,” she says.

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