Intern of the week: Kilpatrick’s Nigerian intern takes office by storm

During the holidays, Segilola Latinwo’s extended family gathers at her grandmother’s house for games and festivities, including the annual lip-sync competition. Latinwo is usually favored to win, having previously dazzled the family with renditions of Whitney Houston and Vanilla Ice. Then they kill a cow and share the feast with their neighbors.

Latinwo, 21, is from Lagos, Nigeria, and is interning for Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.). She moved to Texas with her parents when she was 11 but still visits her extended family in Nigeria about once a year. She plans to return to Lagos after completing her education.

“Nigeria’s where it’s at,” she said. “I’m sorry. I have to disagree [with Texans].”

In May, Latinwo will graduate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a degree in economics and public policy. She plans to go to law school and then do legal work relating to Nigeria’s vast oil reserves or work for a nonprofit.

“I’m very passionate about human rights issues,” she said.

Latinwo performs a variety of odd jobs in Kilpatrick’s office, where she works two days a week. The rest of the week she attends classes at American University as part of her international law and organizations program. In what little free time she has between work and classes, Latinwo usually hangs out in Georgetown, where she has fallen in love with a frozen yogurt shop called Sweet Green.

“Sweet Green is like the best place in Georgetown,” Latinwo said. “Every time I go [shopping] I always end up going twice. It’s ridiculous.”

Since coming to the Hill, she has met a variety of political celebrities, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the Rev. Al Sharpton, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Being from Texas, she has already met President Bush twice. She would like to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but is pretty flexible about it.

“I’m open to anybody,” she said. “If they want to meet me, then [sure].”

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