(October 23, 2015)
Centenary student is paving her way in the local community and beyond
Rhone in front of the White House
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary junior business major Cheredith Rhone knows that a good work ethic paired with ambition will pay off, no matter what the endeavor. A Greenwood, LA, native and a graduate of Shreveport's Byrd High School, Rhone came to Centenary with a passion for using her skills and experiences to improve her community.
Rhone's involvement started in high school where she was a member of DECA (previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America), an organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to be college and career ready. She and her partner went on to receive first place at the DECA State Competition her senior year. At Centenary, Rhone amped up her involvement; she joined Chi Omega sorority where she was named the "Model Initiate" of her pledge class, became a member of the Multicultural Student Association and the Residence Hall Association, joined the Future Business Leaders of America - Phi Beta Lambda, and became an International Student Ambassador. In addition, she is currently the student worker for the President's Office at Centenary.
Rhone has also been very active in her community: she is currently a member and missionary at St. Paul CME Methodist Church in Belcher, and formerly a member of the Shreveport-Bossier National Women's Organization and the Providence House Youth Advisory Board.
Even though her interests are in accounting and finance, Rhone has recently been able to test the political waters with internships in that field. During the summer of 2014, Rhone's application was accepted to be an intern for Cedric Glover, then Mayor of Shreveport. She assisted with events for the Mayor's office and also developed a Financial Readiness Program for un-banked and under-banked individuals. She assisted the local community by distributing information on the importance of financial security and also presented her Financial Readiness Program to Community Development and Bank-On Shreveport.
Rhone sitting in Speaker John Boehner's seat before a meeting on Capitol Hill
A month into her internship with Glover, Rhone received a call asking her to join then Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu's campaign team as an intern during the 2014 Senate race. During this internship that lasted into the fall election season, Rhone made phone calls on behalf of the Senator, updated and maintained information in the campaign database, and assisted the team with local events.
"The local internships that I have been fortunate enough to complete have been extremely beneficial," said Rhone. "Not only have I gained very valuable experiences where I have learned so much about politics and finance, but I have also expanded my network and made several great connections that have brought me new opportunities."
Over her most recent summer break, Rhone was accepted as an intern in Washington D.C. where she worked in the White House on the Business-Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) and participated in congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. While at the White House, Rhone and another colleague developed a Governmental Education video series that highlighted political candidates and provided general information about the different levels of government. Large corporations that are BIPAC members featured these videos on their websites to provide government and candidate information to their constituents. The internship gave Rhone the unique opportunity to have dinner with Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and walk Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders into an event, casually say hello to President Obama as he strolled past her in the White House, and meet Congressman John Lewis and Senator Rand Paul.
Rhone and her sorority sisters on Bid Day
During the summer, Rhone also attended George Mason University where she enrolled in courses on Ethics & Leadership and Economics & Regulation. Though she didn't have much free time, she was able to take part in the 4th of July celebration on the Mall, cruise the Potomac, and visit Mount Vernon.
As part of the internship, each student was assigned a mentor in the Washington D.C. area; Rhone's mentor was Laura Ramsey, Vice President of Women in Government Relations, an association for women professionals. Ramsey introduced Rhone to the organization and encouraged her to serve on the Education and Policy Task Force. On Ramsey's recommendation, Rhone also became a member on the Wall Street Exchange Committee for the Women's Financial Association in New York City, which has an internship for college juniors and seniors. Rhone is able to stay active in both organizations via phone conferences and utilizes the opportunity to meet new people and share her ideas.
Following her White House internship, Rhone was motivated to find more local opportunities for networking in Shreveport. She attended a Success Summit hosted by Angelique Feaster, '95 '07MEd, where she made several great connections, including with Feaster herself. Feaster, who is the president of Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler's Women's Commission Board, recommended that Rhone apply to be on the board. Rhone will find out in December whether or not she has been selected to serve on the board, and if selected, will represent the millennial generation as the youngest person to serve on the board.
Rhone became dedicated to getting the most out of her education in high school after her first job in the hospitality industry. Her experiences taught her how to work hard and stay grounded, but also convinced her that she wanted to pursue a good education and a degree that would push her to do more. She is eager to soak up whatever opportunities her senior year brings, and is confident that the preparation she is receiving at Centenary will benefit her no matter her future direction.