KINGSTON, R.I. – May 14, 2007 – Jason Green and Princess Garrett have defined leadership during their time at the University of Rhode Island, having served and led numerous campus and community service organizations.
But none of those experiences matched their time last summer serving as the first Presidential Interns for URI President Robert L. Carothers.
Both came well prepared. Green was a teaching assistant, an orientation leader, a member of Rhody’s Division 1AA football team and a peer advocate for the University’s Violence Prevention and Advocate Services.
Garrett was a resident assistant for the Office of Housing and Residential Life, an orientation leader, a peer mentor at the Center for Student Leadership Development and a consultant for the city of Providence.
The two will celebrate their successes in and out of the classroom at the University’s commencement May 20.
Green, who completed his requirements for a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in leadership studies last December, said his experience with Carothers was a defining part of his University career. “I learned what it takes to be a better leader,” said the Milton, Mass. resident. “I met state officers, University administrators, and spent time at the (Rhode Island) Statehouse learning about the legislative process. President Carothers helped me focus on what I could do to better the world and myself. Thanks to him, I met people I never would have encountered, and I entered a whole different world.
“I now know I want to hold the top position in an organization,” he said. “I saw how President Carothers was able to get people to work together. I want to experience that and build a great team.”
Garrett, a graduate of Providence’s Classical High School will complete her journalism degree in the summer. She wasn’t sure she would be chosen as a Presidential Intern, so she kept an option open to return as a mentor to Youth In Action, which supports youth leadership development to solve community problems. “I ended up doing both,” said Garrett who interned with Carothers from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then worked in Providence from 3 to 7:30 p.m.
“The president’s internship was amazing because I met so many people in leadership positions at the University and at the Statehouse,” said Garrett, who also minors in leadership and women’s studies. “We attended several legislative sessions and learned about bills that benefited the University. I actually didn’t realize the influence politics has on the running of a university.”
Like Green, Garrett found Carothers to be a great mentor. “I didn’t think he was going to be so hands-on, but he would pop into our office, not to check up on us, but to see how we were doing as people.”
“Jason and Princess will leave URI ready to provide leadership to the people and organizations with which they will be associated,” Carothers said. “Both have imagination, passion and a great work ethic. Most important, both want to build a greater good beyond their personal careers. That’s the kind of leadership America needs.”
An unforeseen benefit of the internship was the friendship that developed between Garrett and Green.
They were in one class together, but didn’t get to know each other well until the internship. “Jason is hilarious, but you wouldn’t know it because he appears so serious,” Garrett said. “Jason is really a caring, giving person, who is extremely spiritual. Even though we had differing opinions, he had great respect for my views.”
“Princess definitely kept me grounded. I was serious at the start, but as we became friends, I eased up and we joked around. We learned so much from being together all the time,” Green said.
They worked together on a program to help first-year students get acclimated to University life. The program grouped faculty members and students in good academic standing with first-year students so they could meet weekly to discuss a variety of issues.
So what’s next for the two presidential interns? Garrett, who served on the board of Uhuru SaSa, a student group that focuses on racial and ethnic understanding, enjoys working with students so much she wants to pursue positions in university residential life, preferably as a hall director to start. The Rhode Island Foundation 2003 Youth Leadership Award winner and state certified HIV/AIDS educator has inquired about some residential life jobs at southern colleges. Her dream is to get a job at Georgia Tech.
Since January, Green has been working three part-time jobs. He is a porter at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where he helps visitors from other countries with their travel plans. He is a substitute teacher at Pierce Middle School in Milton, Mass., and he works for his brother’s cleaning service.
“I am the only minority teacher in the school,” Green said. “But the kids saw this as a positive because I was a fresh face. They can relate to me through sports, and I talk to them about what it takes to earn a scholarship to a school, whether it is through academics or athletics.
“I see the interest of the kids, and that really excites me,” said Green, the president of the Wesley United Methodist Youth Group in Boston and coach in the Milton Youth Basketball Program.
Working at Pierce has special significance for Green. “It’s where I changed my life around. I owe a lot to my middle school mentor, Jim Fredrickson, Mr. Fred, because he saw something in me that nobody else did—promise. He stuck with me through high school and is still my good friend to this day.”
As he contemplates his future, he says his parents, Cynthia and James Green, were the ones who “stayed by my side through the good times and bad.”
Teaching and coaching are solid career possibilities for him, but he is also considering graduate school for education, film studies, or communications.
No matter where he goes, his ties to URI will remain strong. “I bleed the Keaney Blue. This is my school and it’s going to be my school for life.”
PRESIDENT’S PROTEGES: University of Rhode Island President Robert L. Carothers, center, poses with his first two Presidential Interns, Princess Garrett of Providence and Jason Green of Milton, Mass. URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno Photography.