Beginning as a child, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith student Luke Barber saw the power of politics firsthand when he and his parents would talk to politicians to help address issues facing their community.
Since then, the Lavaca native and international business major has nurtured a passion for politics, which will be realized this summer when he serves as the 2018 John Paul Hammerschmidt Fellow, an exclusive fellowship established in 2013 by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, AR-3, in conjunction with UAFS.
Throughout the fellowship, Barber will work in Womack’s office and see firsthand the inner workings of the legislative process through a rigorous curriculum earning him college credit. His duties will include extensive legislative research for Womack, attending hearings and interacting with the constituents of Arkansas’ Third District.
Barber, who plans to attend law school after graduating UAFS and who aspires to enter politics, said it will be a valuable experience.
“You’re able to experience the process of Congress and federal government firsthand,” he said. “Congressman Womack’s played a crucial role in the community for a long time, and I’m looking forward to working with and learning from him.”
“The JPH fellowship honors the long-time service of John Paul Hammerschmidt by providing a unique experience for UAFS student leaders in our nation's capital,” Womack said. “I look forward to welcoming Luke into our office this summer and continuing JPH’s important legacy of student-mentorship.”
Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said Barber was well-suited for the fellowship.
“As a member of my Chancellor’s Leadership Council, I have seen Luke’s character and ability firsthand. He has demonstrated insightful leadership ability through his involvement with the UAFS Student Government Association and his fraternity,” Beran said. “He will represent the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and Congressman Womack’s office well in Washington, D.C.”
The JPH Fellowship is named for former Arkansas Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt (1966-1993), who passed away on April 1, 2015. It is geared towards highly-motivated college students with an interest in public service and will allow outstanding Third District students to experience the legislative process firsthand in Womack’s Washington, D.C. office.