MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
The office of the lieutenant governor of Utah has an intern with a lot on her plate.
DEIDRE HENDERSON: One of my biggest duties is overseeing and helping to implement and make sure that the barriers are eradicated for vaccine distribution for COVID-19. And that'll probably be what I write my internship report about.
KELLY: That sounds like a high-stakes job for an intern, but it's OK because that intern is the lieutenant governor, Deidre Henderson.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
So how did Henderson become an intern in her own office? Well, the story begins when she got married after her freshman year at BYU when she was 18.
HENDERSON: I had five babies in eight years. I spent 13 years after that, you know, working to get my husband through physical therapy school, wiping noses and bottoms.
CHANG: She got active in politics and was elected to the Utah state Senate in 2012.
HENDERSON: You know, I'd always just imagine that when my youngest child went back to school, so would I, right? And life happens.
KELLY: Henderson says after a while, the thing that kept her from getting her degree was shame over not having that degree. But she learned to let that go.
HENDERSON: You know, I'm not the only one in this situation. I'm certainly not the only woman in this situation. And so I just decided to be open about it and to be transparent about it and to hopefully encourage other women or men who are in a similar situation where they're wanting to go back but maybe feeling awkward about it, to help inspire them to just do it.
CHANG: So in 2014, when Henderson was a state senator, she returned to the BYU campus, and it was an eye-opener.
HENDERSON: The department heads came in to the room one day to talk about the legislative internship opportunities. And I realized with, like, horror - and it was kind of funny, too - that I didn't qualify to be my own intern because I didn't have enough credits under my belt at the time (laughter). So I'm like, well, God bless America. I can be the state senator, but I cannot be the state senator's intern.
KELLY: Well, now she qualifies. And now as lieutenant governor, Henderson is having fun with being her own intern.
HENDERSON: I had to have an internship adviser (ph) sign my internship form, so I got the governor to do it.
CHANG: Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson is on track to graduate from BYU this year.
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