3L appointed to Scott’s Gubernatorial Fellowship Program
By Kelcee Griffis (4JM)
A UF Levin College of Law student was recently appointed as a member of Gov. Rick Scott’s Gubernatorial Fellowship Program.
Robert Alex Andrade (3L) is one of the 10 student gubernatorial fellows for 2013-2014, who will spend a year working alongside top-level administrators.
This year’s program launched Aug. 12.
For the selection process, Andrade submitted an application including LSAT and SAT scores, transcripts, essays and a policy proposal.
Andrade said he also had help from UF faculty and students. He credits former Fellows Ian Dankleman and Tim Mason with giving him the encouragement and advice needed to get through the application process. Professor Jennifer Zedalis also wrote a” glowing letter of recommendation,” he said.
Simply being a UF Law student also gave him an edge.
“When you say you’re from UF Law, people understand your capabilities,” Andrade said. “There’s a certain respect people have for UF Law students and it definitely helps to break down barriers.”
Ted Stratton, the program’s executive director, wrote in a letter that the students “endured a competitive application and interview process and were selected based on their outstanding leadership skills, strong academic achievement, community activism, and their desire to serve the people of Florida.”
After Andrade received a phone call letting him know he’d earned a spot in the program, he interviewed with seven state agencies before ultimately choosing to spend the year working with the Department of Transportation.
“It’s got a huge reach across the state. They do amazing projects,” he said, citing a venture that’s dredging the Panama Canal to increase its capacity. “I love the projects; I love the people.”
Even though Andrade said the internship is more managerial than legal, he’s gaining valuable insight into the inner workings of the agency. He attended his first meeting with Scott earlier this month.
Andrade is also attending law classes full-time as a visiting student at FSU. But Gainesville is still on his mind. Each week he drives back to visit his wife, Jessica Andrade, a 3L at UF Law.
While he said he misses UF Law, he appreciates the opportunities associated with attending classes in the state capitol, such as access to the legislature and state Supreme Court. He’s enrolled in a class taught by Chief Justice Ricky Polston.
“It’s interesting starting at FSU,” Andrade said. “It’s kind of exciting, starting something new.”
Andrade is the 20th UF student to be named a fellow. The program – now in its ninth year – will run until May.