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ADA – The 2019 and 2020 Ulrich Fellows, who each spent a semester in the nation’s capital as part of the Fellowship, are set to graduate from East Central University this May with degrees in Political Science.

Jack Langley, 2019 Ulrich Fellow, will commission as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Alexis Benitez, 2020 Ulrich Fellow, will attend the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

The purpose of ECU’s Ulrich Fellowship is to fund students to live and work in Washington, D.C., for a semester. It honors the life and legacy of Dr. John J. Ulrich, a former ECU Political Science professor. Dr. Ulrich started planning for the Fellowship before his death and his wife, Lesa, finalized his plans.

U.S. Senators James Inhofe and James Lankford have hosted ECU’s Ulrich Fellows. All four students who have participated in the Fellowship describe the experience in glowing terms.

Langley, of Stratford, worked for Sen. Inhofe during his semester as an Ulrich Fellow.

“The Ulrich Fellowship allows students to experience the magnitude of federal government firsthand,” Langley said. “That experience forever changed my perspective of federal and state relations and allowed me to create friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. I will be forever grateful for the life-changing opportunity.”

Alexis Benitez, of Healdton, worked for Sen. Lankford before the coronavirus pandemic cut his internship short a month. While there, he staffed the office, attended briefings on immigration policy, and even received an inter-office award for his research skills.

“Just to be in the mix in D.C. and contribute this semester has been a privilege,” Benitez said. “My work at the Capitol has left me with the flexibility to truly explore what’s interesting to me and the wisdom to follow a strong example of leadership in Senator Lankford.”

For more information about applying for the Ulrich Fellowship, contact Dr. Christine Pappas at


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