Catonsville legislative intern

Shelby Hall, a senior at Catonsville High School, sits behind Del. James Malone of District 12A that includes Catonsville, during an Environmental Matters Committee meeting to discuss transportation issues at the Casper R. Taylor Jr. House of Delegates Building in Annapolis on March 5. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / March 4, 2013)

Politics is not usually a topic of popular interest for students in high school.

But 17-year-old Shelby Hall is fascinated by the world of government.

Hall, a senior at Catonsville High School, has been shadowing Del. James Malone, who represents District 12A which includes Catonsville, for four weeks as part of for-credit internship.

"I decided last year that I really liked politics when I was in my government class," Hall said.

She went to the work study director at Catonsville High, Christine Tomback, and asked about pursuing an internship in politics.

"I was originally going to do a child care internship, but I decided I didn't really like that," Hall said.

"So I said, 'I know no one really does this, but can I do an internship with a delegate or somehow in the political arena?'," she said.

Given the go-ahead, Hall has spent Tuesdays with Malone since mid-February, sitting in on meetings of the Committee of Environmental Matters, of which Malone is vice chairman.

On her fourth Tuesday in Annapolis on March 5, she attended a number of hearings on the controversial use of speed cameras.

"I feel like every week it kind of is a theme, what they're going to talk about," Hall said.

She noted that cell phone usage while driving was the topic the week before.

Malone sponsored a bill that would make cell phone use while driving a primary offense. Last week, the bill passed in the House and will now work its way through the Senate.

"She's been very interested in that," Malone said. "Very interested in all the different issues that we've had down here."

Hall said she participates in a variety of activities with Malone, ranging from sitting in on meetings to providing a future voter's perspective to bringing him a class of water in the office.

"Every Tuesday, I come out and basically I'm with Del. Malone the whole time," Hall said.

"I assist him in anything he needs. I get to sit in on meetings with him and some of the people who come to committee. I go to committee with him every week, which is interesting," she said.

"She is doing a great job down here," Malone said.

"She comes in and she helps out with a lot of different things," he said. "(She) Helps me, helps the committee to get ready."

He said he is glad to provide her a chance to pursue her passion for politics and see what happens in the state government.

"She is getting, first hand, to see what things are like down here," Malone said.