December 08, 2021

Van Hollen Announces Launch of John Amara Walters Memorial Internship

The internship, memorializing a former Van Hollen team member, will be available to Maryland students attending Howard University

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) announced the launch of the John Amara Walters Memorial Internship – a new paid internship position within his office available to Maryland students attending Howard University. The internship program honors the life and legacy of John Amara Walters, a member of the Senator’s staff who died on October 2, 2021 at the age of 29 from complications related to sickle cell disease. 

“John Amara was a beloved and dedicated member of the Van Hollen family. He had been a part of our team since my days in the House of Representatives, starting as an intern and serving in a number of roles, but most recently as a Legislative Aide in my Senate office. John was a proud graduate of Howard University, a dedicated public servant, and a loyal friend, with a laugh that filled the room. I will always remember John for the twinkle in his eye, his enthusiasm for all he did, and his brilliance. To honor John’s memory, I’m proud to launch this internship to ensure Maryland students of his alma mater have the opportunity to intern with our office like he did. As we continue to grieve the loss of John, I hope this internship opportunity will carry on his legacy of a purposeful life dedicated to pursuing positive change for our community and country,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

“My family and I are truly grateful for Senator Van Hollen honoring John Amara and his determination to make a difference as a public servant,” said Kimberley H. Davis Walters, John Amara’s mother. “While we are saddened by his untimely passing, we are encouraged that other leading Howard University students will have the opportunity to learn from and continue his legacy. A Luta Continua (the Struggle Continues)!” 

“John Amara Walters was and continues to be a truly inspiring individual who deserves to be recognized and remembered,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Like John, I am a sickle cell warrior, and I understand the debilitating effects of the disease and the social stigma associated with it. John always defied expectations. He never used his condition as an excuse to lower his ambitions. On the contrary, he was a true torchbearer of Howard University’s mission, striving for excellence in his pursuit of truth and service. I am deeply appreciative of Senator Van Hollen’s efforts to memorialize John by creating an internship for Howard students in his name. While John was taken from us far too soon, his legacy and impact are only beginning to be realized.”

“This is a heartwarming tribute to my dear nephew, John Amara. As a graduate of Howard University myself, I am over-joyed at Senator Van Hollen’s commitment to providing opportunities for the next generation of Howard leaders,” said Jacqueline Sales Davis, John Amara’s aunt. “We are forever grateful!”

John graduated magna cum laude from Howard University in 2015 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. While a student at Howard, John served as an intern for then-Congressman Van Hollen. He joined the staff in the House of Representatives following his graduation and moved to the Senate following the Senator’s swearing-in on January 3, 2017.

As a member of the Senator’s staff, John directed the correspondence program and was a subject matter expert for the Senator on the issues of judicial nominations, criminal justice reform, gun safety, telecommunications and digital inclusion and equity, election security, consumer protection and safety, labor, postal issues, and federal employees. He was a devoted member of our office family who was always eager to serve and willing to give.

John passed away on October 2, 2021 in his mother’s arms at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He lived every moment to the fullest  – and though his life on this earth was short in years, it was long in the empathy, in the joy, and in the love he shared with all of us. Through this internship, we honor John’s life and his commitment to public service. 

To be eligible for the John Amara Walters Memorial Internship, a student must be a resident of Maryland, attend Howard University, and be a psychology or political science major or minor. Students must be able to work a minimum of 20 hours/week in the Senator’s Capitol Hill or state offices.

John Amara Walters Memorial Internship Spring 2022 Internship Session: January 24, 2022 – May 13, 2022

John Amara Walters Memorial Internship Spring 2022 Application - Deadline: January 5, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.