April 24, 2013
DALLAS (SMU) — Tapping emotional memories and powerful personal experiences, several SMU students will be watching the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center through the lens of their experiences as Bush Institute interns and researchers.
One student, in particular, will find it difficult to separate the Center’s opening from memories of her father.
Christina Rancke, an SMU senior majoring in corporate communications, began working for the George W. Bush Presidential Center a decade, to the month, after losing her father in one of the World Trade Center tower collapses on 9/11.
After helping plan SMU’s 10th anniversary commemoration of the national tragedy (see related video), Rancke landed one of the earliest internships at the Bush Center, where she has assisted in marketing initiatives for nearly two years.
This week Rancke will see for the first time a solemn 9/11 exhibit at the Bush Center museum, where a dimly lit section features massive twisted steel beams recovered from the fallen towers.
“It’s been an amazing experience to watch history in the making, and help promote the Center’s value to SMU and the world. But when I see the 9/11 space, the impact on me personally will be powerful,” she says.
Alexus Selio, a junior majoring in political science, has worked with the George W. Bush Institute’s Education Reform initiative since the start of this year. Much of her work involves conducting research for the Advancing Accountability and Middle School Matters programs that promote student learning and school accountability.
“The experience has taught me a lot about research and teamwork, but what’s really developed is my passion for education,” says Selio, who plans to pursue a graduate degree in the field.
“One of my supervisors even has inspired me to look into Teach for America opportunities, which I understand are life-changing. Young people can make an impact on the world in so many ways.”
Nicholas Saliba, a junior majoring in finance, economics and public policy, has worked in several capacities for the George W. Bush Institute since January 2012. Most recently he has been providing research for the Institute’s 4% Growth Project and writing a related blog.
Saliba’s most meaningful experience has been launching the Freedom Collection website, for which he helped interview former political prisoners. “It’s been an incredible experience meeting some of the dissidents brave enough to speak out against oppression,” he says.
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