Millsaps College continues to deliver on its promise of connecting students directly with employers.
Lofton Gray, a junior government and politics major, was recently offered the position of policy fellow at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy for the spring 2020 semester, a position that will have him tracking, researching, summarizing, and categorizing essentially every piece of legislation introduced at the state capitol during the 2020 session.
Gray's experience in professional politics began in his freshman year at Millsaps, when he worked as the head page in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The Page Program gives teens an up-close look at the legislative process as part of a week-long stay in the capital city, during which time they report to the head pages. "Those people usually have college degrees, but I was fortunate enough to get that job when I was still in undergrad," Gray said. "I was able to work while I was still taking classes, and I couldn't have done that if I didn't go to Millsaps. The clerk of the House knew that Millsaps students were hard workers, so they wanted to work with me."
In his upcoming position, Gray will be managing the legislative tracker. He will review every bill that comes up in the House or the Senate, and weigh it against a set of criteria. Gray will then assign the bill a rating based on how well it matches the criteria. The baseline, he explained, is does the bill add to or denigrate the cause of liberty in Mississippi. He will also write up summaries of the bills, so that policymakers and legislators will be able to educate themselves on what is being introduced.
Gray credits his decision to go to Millsaps as the reason he has had these opportunities to be involved in local politics. Close relationships with professors, such as Dr. Nathan Shrader, assistant professor of government and politics, and small class sizes has made all the difference, Gray said. "Millsaps has given me the headway to get these jobs," he reflected. "Dr. Shrader knowing and recommending me for the job wouldn't happen at any other school."
Shrader spoke very highly of Gray's abilities, which shone high above the other applicants for the fellowship. "My understanding is that there was very difficult competition for this position and that Lofton was chosen because of his capabilities," Shrader said. "I am very proud of his work and for taking advantages of the opportunities that have come before him. This shows why I am willing to confidently put our students up against anyone, anywhere, anytime."