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Pi Lambda Officers Attending GOP National Convention Seminar

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When the Republican Party gathers for its National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27-30, two Phi Theta Kappa chapter officers will be there to witness the historic event.

Kevin Heckle

Kevin Heckle

Pi Lambda Chapter President Kevin Heckle and Chapter Officer Dominic Homac are two of three Seminole State College of Florida students attending the convention under the auspices of The Washington Center, an independent nonprofit offering students opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C., for credit.

Dominic Homac

Dominic Homac

The students were selected by The Washington Center based on their application essays and transcripts. In addition to the weeklong seminar, the students will take a three-credit class at Seminole State as part of their convention experience, said Dr. Debra Socci, director of Seminole State's Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute.

"The Washington Center hires world-renowned academicians to conduct seminars for college students from all around the country," she said. "This is a presidential election year, so they're offering convention seminars for both parties.

"Because Tampa is so close, it made sense for the college to sponsor students interested in the GOP event."

Seminole State's Student Affairs Division is paying the program fee for Heckle, 19, of Oviedo, Florida, and the college's Honors Institute is sponsoring Homac, 19, of Altamonte Springs, Florida. Joshua Nawrocki, of Largo, Florida, is also attending the convention and is being sponsored by state Rep. Chris Dorworth. In addition, the Honors Institute and Pi Lambda are paying for housing for all three students.

The seminar will be "a great networking opportunity for me to meet people in politics and learn about the tricks of the trade," said Heckle, who plans to attend law school and one day become a judge.

The seminar's first week, which starts August 18, is intensive, Socci said.

"The students will learn about the campaigns and about convention procedures so they're familiar with the process," she said. "During the convention itself, each student will be assigned an internship position."

Homac said his internship, or "field work," will involve attending the committees that will establish the party's 2012 platform. He wants to "see how issues from interest groups are integrated into a platform, and how the party formulates its agenda based on its interest groups." Homac plans to study either international relations or law.

Heckle, Homac and Nawrocki will be blogging from the convention, describing their experiences and offering their perspectives on the platform, speeches and other convention business. Follow their blog here.