Since 2000, Flinders University has sent over 133 of its students to intern in the United States Congress in Washington. This unparalleled opportunity enables Flinders students to work full-time, for between two and five months, in the office of a member of the United States Senate or the US House of Representatives. The Flinders students have created a stellar reputation in the US Congress; longstanding members of Congress now request Flinders students as interns in their office.
A driving force behind this life-changing and career-advancing program at Flinders was Ali Lehman, who sadly died last year and is greatly missed.
“Ali made the Washington Internship Program work,” says Professor Don DeBats, Professor and Head of American Studies at Flinders and founder of the Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance.
“She understood the power of the WIP to transform the lives of Flinders students and she engaged with it wholeheartedly for over nearly a decade. She worked with students aiming to go to Washington to help them realise their dream. She was their guide to the complexities of the visa process and then succeeding in a challenging job on the other side of the world.”
After a long and courageous battle with a terminal illness, Ali passed away on 19 February 2021.
In recognition of her work at Flinders and her leading role with the Washington Internship Program, Professor DeBats has donated to establish the Ali Lehman Memorial Prize for the Washington Internship Program.
Fostering academic achievement, the prize will be awarded to the student with the highest mark in the program, which requires a research paper at its culmination.
“Ali’s skills, determination, and kindness were central features of all that she did,” says Professor DeBats. “This prize in her name reminds us of her values and her amazing determination to be a force for good in the lives of so many Flinders students.”
To honour the memory of Ali Lehman, Professor DeBats and Ali’s family invite you to make a donation to the prize.