3L Rayshon Payton Shares D.C. Experience, Interning at White House

January 29, 2013 | By Jonella Frank, Sooner Lawyer Editor

One current law student has gotten a taste of working in Washington, D.C., and is focused on eventually returning. Third-year student Rayshon Payton completed a summer internship in D.C. where he worked in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Payton refers to that office as the “open front door to the White House.” The individuals who work there create and coordinate opportunities for a dialogue between the Obama administration and the public. One of the duties of the office is to host political forums and other outreach events.

During his internship, Payton had the opportunity to work with two senior level administration officials: Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

"The majority of the work I did for Ms. Jarrett involved assisting with logistics for the political forums and creating her talking points,” Payton said. “I worked with Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education on an initiative called the African American Executive Order, which the President signed this summer.”

The First Tee, an international youth development program built around the game of golf, has played an important role in Payton’s life. As a participant in the Oklahoma City chapter, he was named The First Tee Scholar in 2006 and travelled to Washington, D.C., to speak to members of Congress, educating them about the positive impact of the program.

The program may have been a factor in developing Payton’s positive attitude about life. In a story in The First TeeMagazine, Payton was quoted, “You have to be confident. You have to believe in yourself. Believe in your goal…If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

Payton is unsure of what he will do after law school graduation, but he adds, he expects great things in the future. In the magazine story, he stated his goal was to eventually become chief justice of the United States. If you can dream it…

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