PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Michel-Lahood summer congressional internship program enables three Bradley University students to participate in nine-week summer internships in congressional offices on Capitol Hill each year.

The internship is named after Ray Lahood, former Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and Bob Michel, the former House Minority Leader.

“I didn’t enjoy the politics nearly as much as I enjoyed legislatively crafting something that fit together and was a good product in the end. That was fun, that was exhilarating,” said Michel in an old recording.

With $7,000 worth of stipends to cover housing, living, and travel expenses, these awards are eliminating financial barriers that prevent students from applying to such life-altering experiences.

Lavannya Deolalikar interned with U.S. Representative Robyn Kelly (IL-2), and said, “You really get to see that, yes they have two different points of view, but they’re really trying to solve the same problem. So that’s something to keep in mind that regardless of which office you get placed into, you’re going to have a great experience, you’re going to learn so many new things, and it’s just going to completely change your outlook on the government.”

Lahood collaborated with Bradley University leaders on students’ future in public service. This past summer, U.S. Representatives Darin Lahood (IL-16), Robin Kelly (IL-2), and Eric Sorensen (IL-17) took the interns under their wings in the capitol of the country, thanks to the legacy Michel left behind.

“The saying of ‘how will it play in Peoria’ was alive and well, but after I got to know Bob Michel, I got to know the genesis of the saying. In a very real sense, he represents, in my view, the heart of America, the values of America,” said Bill Clinton in an old video.

Bradley’s undergraduates from all academic majors are eligible to participate. They will have the option of earning academic credit for the internship, as well.