Hampton, Va. – When Miles Gordon graduated from Hampton University he had no idea that he would be one of hundreds of students across the state to become a Virginia Governor’s Fellow.
In 2014, Gordon transferred from the City College of San Francisco to Hampton University to play football.
The following year, Gordon began focusing on his academics and took an interest in politics.
In 2016, he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in political science.
Without any job prospects, Gordon packed his bags and moved back home to Oakland, California.
He began preparing for law school and considered working for his family’s business, until he got a phone call that would change the course of his future.
“I was laying down on a beach in California,” said Gordon. I got the phone call, with my feet literally in the sand, and they told me that I had made it into the program.”
The Virginia Governor’s Fellows Program is a prestigious internship that offers a small group of high achieving students the chance to gain firsthand experience of the administration of Virginia’s state government.
If it were not for the help of Dr. Mamie E. Locke, former dean of the School of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Eric W. Claville, former assistant dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Gordon says he would not have learned about the program.
“They told me that I would be ideal for being a Governor’s Fellow. They told me that I was the kind of person they were looking for and that they need,” said Gordon.
“Miles Gordon is a very astute student, very engaging and very smart,” said Dr. Claville. “Also, he is a leader outside the class, where individuals are attracted to him. Not only that, he is able to think outside of the box and able to connect the dots.”
Since arriving at Hampton in 2011, Dr. Claville has cultivated strong relationships with the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Governor’s Office and U.S. senators.
Those relationships helped HU send its first student, Biniam Tesfamariam, to the Governor’s Fellows Program in 2014.
Alieyyah Lewis '15 was accepted the following year, but declined the offer.
Kryste’l Jordan, a 2000 HU graduate, also received the Governor’s Fellow this year.
“As I tell my students, your resume gets your name on the table. Basically, it won’t go in the trash,” said Dr. Claville. “It is the relationships that your mentors have that will get you through the door.”
While Gordon had his doubts as to whether he would be considered for the program, he applied anyway.
“Sometimes you think that you are not up to par for these types of things,” he said.
Gordon delved into his new internship. He was placed in the secretariat of “commerce and trade,” specifically the newly chartered Virginia International Trade Corporation, which dealt with expanding imports and exports.
“We dealt with globalization and a number of things on the global market,” said Gordon. “Virginia has a one-of-a-kind program that takes people on trade missions all the way to places like Iran and China. You can explore the market for yourself,” said Gordon.
Gordon said he gained a wealth of knowledge in learning how Virginia’s government works.
“It was a life-changing experience,” said Gordon. "I want to make sure that Hamptonians and student’s at Historically Black Colleges and Universities take the opportunity to become a Governor’s Fellows or any type of internship. It gives you the insight that is necessary.”
After completing the program, Gordon took a staff position with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Gordon was recently offered a staff position to work with a newly elected Virginia congressman.
Gordon is the third HU student to be accepted into the Governor’s Fellow Program.