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Doubling up on public policymaking

  • Twins Keriesha & Teneisha Brown are Maryland General Assembly interns

    Wednesday, March 13, 2019
    Teneisha and Keriesha Brown are 2018 UMES alumnae

    The Brown sisters of Laurel - Keriesha and Teneisha - have both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly covered. 

    The UMES alumnae are working as interns in Annapolis during the 2019 legislative session as they weigh graduate school options; Keriesha in the office of state Sen. Melony Griffith and Teneisha in Del. Erek Barron's office. 

    The Democrat lawmakers represent districts in Prince George's County, which the Browns also call home. 

    The twins had little interest in state government until a year ago. They participated in a statehouse rally in support of historically black institutions organized by UMES' Student Government Association. 

    “Everyone was so into their jobs,” Teneisha said. “It made me curious about what really goes on behind the scenes.”

    Keriesha came away struck by the passion of those engaged in public affairs as well as the facts behind the debate over state funding for public colleges - especially historically black institutions. 

    “I felt like I wanted to learn more, and maybe work in some way to do something about it,” Keriesha said. 

    As both completed work on their criminal justice degrees, the Browns saw a bulletin board notice about Annapolis internships posted by Dr. Emmanuel C. Onyeozili. 

    “We realized it was an opportunity to get more actively involved” in public policymaking, Keriesha said. 

    Since starting their jobs in early January, the Browns have celebrated a birthday - they're 23 - and have gained a greater appreciation for the legislative process. 

    “I wonder sometimes how they get things done in 90 days,” Teneisha said. “There are so many important things that need to be looked into, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of time.”

    Teneisha, left, and Keriesha Brown

    Del. Barron said Teneisha “has been a pleasure to work with … and certainly fits well in our fast-paced, drama-free environment. We appreciate her help responding to constituents, preparing for hearings and generally keeping the office organized as we work to give all Marylanders the best opportunity to succeed.” 

    Keriesha has attended committee meetings and learned “there's a whole lot of information to take in. It can be overwhelming at times. I'm in awe of how they do it.” 

    Sen. Griffith said, “I am delighted to have such a hard-working, dynamic and well-prepared intern. Keriesha has been a tremendous asset and a key contributor to our team. The fact that she, like my oldest son, is a Hawk is icing on the cake.” 

    Keriesha said she is enjoying the internship experience “so far. It got busy here very quickly. You really have to manage your time wisely.” 

    Observing lawmakers, Teneisha said, has taught her the importance of listening carefully and “the art of asking good questions.” 

    Teneisha said she's also impressed by how engaged and knowledgeable Barron's constituents are in topics they're interested in advocating for or opposing. 

    “If I wasn't working here,” Teneisha said, “I wouldn't know how to reach out. I didn't know I could.” 

    Keriesha has her eye on earning a master's degree in public affairs, which she hopes will lead to a government job. Younger sister Teneisha - by just five minutes - is interested in a graduate degree in human resources. 

    “I really like working with people,” Teneisha said. “This (intern) job has shown me that. I've learned to communicate better and manage my time - and multi-task.”