College of Southern Maryland (CSM) nursing student Verkia (Kia) Smith will intern as the deputy chief of staff for Maryland Del. Al Carr, of Montgomery County, during the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session. A resident of Waldorf, Smith also serves as the CSM La Plata Campus Student Association Vice President. She will begin her service for Maryland’s District 18 on the assembly’s opening day, Jan. 13, 2021 and continue through Sine Die — or the assembly’s adjournment — April 12.

Calling her appointment “surreal,” Smith said she remains humbled and honored to have been selected.

“When I talked to my mom about whether I should even consider applying for this, as a nursing student, she really encouraged me,” Smith shared. “She said, ‘Try something new. You might like it.’ And I think she is right. This is going to be an eye-opening experience.”

“I am extremely proud of her,” said Smith’s mom, Nicole Mahoney. “I am proud of how she is venturing out to explore something that could circle back to help her with her major.”

Smith agreed that she sees a direct connection to her nursing major.

“With this internship, and my experience with CSM’s Student Association, I will gain first-hand experience on how I can change or impact laws to help my patients in the future.”

Smith said has already met with Del. Carr’s staff and she was warmly welcomed. “We are very excited to get started,” she added. “I will basically be a liaison between Delegate Carr and the other delegates.”

She also said she credits CSM for her earning the deputy chief of staff internship, and for many other opportunities she has experienced thanks to her role on the college’s student association.

“So far, I’ve got to work with Senator Mike Miller and even the president of the college,” she said. “I truly love being a CSM student and an advocate for all students. CSM has opened so many doors for me.”

Earlier in the fall semester, Smith participated as a student panelist in CSM’s and St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) leadership and voter education series entitled ‘Informed, Engaged, Empowered = Ready – Set – VOTE!’ The live webinar included commentary about bi-partisanship from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and an intimate conversation between Maryland Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller about the senator’s life in politics and his take on the current political climate.

“These small intimate conversations are the starting point to get the gears going on those larger conversations that start to produce the change in which we the people want to see,” shared Smith, at the time. “We need to invite the idea of humility and self-reflection with open arms so that we can use it as a tool in our education process.

“Senator Miller and Governor Hogan have both accomplished so much by ‘reaching across the aisle,’ and we must continue discussions and raising awareness to respectfully bridge the divides within our wonderful nation to create one community for the common good,” Smith continued. “Allow yourself to be a puzzle piece within our ambitious world and use your power to vote for the better of all people.”

“I am so proud of Kia,” said CSM Student Life Coordinator Melissa Chambers upon hearing the news of Smith’s appointment. “She is truly an asset to the La Plata Student Association and I know she will continue to do great things with the Maryland General Assembly.”

Smith is also part of CSM’s cross country coaching staff after earning a position as a top 10 runner in the state of Maryland during her high school career at North Point High School.

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