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Hatfield Award recipient spends summer learning about ethics in government

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  A&S Communications
September 10, 2018

From attending a lecture by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to seeing the process of creating a bill, Simone Smith '20 was exposed to many different aspects of government while interning in Washington D.C this summer. 

"Some of the issues I got to work on related to education, agriculture, labor and finance," said Smith, who interned with Senator Mark Warner (D-Va). 

Working on the Hill was always something I wanted to do, especially as a government major," Smith said. "There was so much happening on Capitol Hill and I was in the middle of it all." 

Her responsibilities included attending hearings and briefings and writing memos for policy advisors. Smith also assisted Warner with his work on finance committee. 

"Working on the issue gave me an insight into government regulation of business ethics," Smith said. "I got to learn about what it takes to write legislation that can put barriers on businesses in order to maintain their ethics." 

Smith was the recipient of the 2018 Hatfield Award for the Study of Ethics in Business, which helped pay for her expenses allowing her to participate in the unpaid internship. The Program on Ethics and Public Life offers the award to students, faculty and student organizations. 

"I believe business ethics are extremely important and can affect many different aspects of our society," Smith said. "Making sure companies act in ethically responsible ways ensures that corruption and inequality can be weeded out."

Smith also studied issues surrounding social media companies and privacy concerns. 

"With fake news and the excess of information, these companies have an ethical and moral obligation to protect the public," Smith said. "It was so cool to hear and learn about the ways the government is working in that field."

"This internship has made me realize that I want to continue working in government and holding companies accountable from a legislative perspective," Smith said. 

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.