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Beck Fellow pursues journalism in Washington, D.C.

timberlakeLamar University senior Kara Timberlake will participate in the Institute on Political Journalism summer program in Washington, D.C. through the Fund for American Studies as one of two David J. Beck Fellows for 2015.

Timberlake, an English and communications major from Beaumont, was selected as one of two undergraduate students to receive the Beck Fellowship.  The Beck Fellowship, endowed by David J. Beck, a Lamar alumnus, is a prestigious scholarship that covers all expenses including tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board for one year and provides up to $10,000 for a summer project.

“Upon discovering that I had been selected as one of the 2015 Beck Fellows, I was simultaneously shocked and overjoyed,” she said. “I am honored to be granted this opportunity to work in the nation’s capitol and jump-start my vocational pursuits. Without this fellowship, I wouldn’t have the possibility to enhance my passion and cultivate additional expertise.”

While in Washington, D.C., Timberlake will intern with a news organization for eight weeks and will take courses in economics and ethics through George Mason University. The Fund for American Studies provides student housing in the heart of the city, a few blocks from the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and Smithsonian Institute. Timberlake will have the opportunity to cover hearings on Capitol Hill and attend multiple guest lectures and briefings at principle news sites.

Timberlake has the option of interning with one of many well-known news organizations during her time in Washington, D.C.

“Ideally, I would love to intern with The New York Times or The Washington Times,” she said. “Both have newspapers that I have followed and respected over the years. I’m unsure if I’ll have the option of being placed with either newspaper, but the Fund for American Studies tries to pair you with a place that has some kind of investment in your future and your specific skill set.”

Timberlake’s interest in politics and political journalism originally motivated her to apply for the internship program.

“Government fascinates me,” she said. “I like the whole system of operations, and I like the idea of getting to test our politicians. By test, I mean hold them accountable and display the truth to the people because I feel like people have a distrust for government right now that may or may not be deserved. As a journalist, you have a responsibility to translate what’s occurring in the political atmosphere to people who wouldn’t get a chance to be privy to that knowledge.”

Timberlake chose to major in both English and communications because of her passion for stories.

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading, and I’ve loved stories,” she said. “They were places of adventure and a place of escape. I also love writing. I love crafting my own stories, my own characters. I feel like journalism is connected to the English degree because I love stories, so I love meeting new people and getting to hear their stories.”

Timberlake hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Arts degree. She has studied abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain through the Lamar Study Abroad Program to supplement a minor in Spanish. She is a Lamar Ambassador and a student in the Reaud Honors College. She also holds a writing internship with the university’s public relations office and is a staff writer for the University Press. She is a member of the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, and the national honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. She also participated in the 2014 Great Plains Honors Conference in Fort Smith, Arkansas.