Social Work Graduate Overcomes Obstacles to Find Success in Washington, D.C.

Khaliyl Lane '10 (CLAS), '13 MSW speaking at a Congressional Foster Youth Internship Briefing on Aug. 31, in Washington, D.C. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. (Allison Cappa for UConn)

Khaliyl Lane '10 (CLAS), '13 MSW speaking at a Congressional Foster Youth Internship Briefing on Aug. 31, in Washington, D.C. The briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. (Allison Cappa for UConn)

If you asked Khaliyl Lane ’10 (CLAS), ’13 MSW, 10 years ago whether he could imagine himself working in the halls of power at the U.S. Capitol or sitting at a desk inside the United Nations, he would surely have laughed it off as an outrageous suggestion.

Lane’s early teen years were tough. At 14, his family crumbled, his mother and father gave up their parental rights, and Lane and his younger brother were placed in Connecticut state foster care. His future was at a crossroads. College and a professional career were just about the last thing on his mind. He needed a home.

Thankfully for him, Barbara Knoegel Allison, the mother of a close childhood friend, who was recently divorced and going through her own struggles, heard about Lane’s plight and volunteered to take him in.

In many ways, Allison saved Lane’s life. Together, Lane, Allison, and her own two boys began a journey at that moment that transformed them all.

In the nation's capital

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) with Khaliyl Lane. (Photo from U.S. Senate Photographic Studio)

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) with Khaliyl Lane. (Photo from U.S. Senate Photographic Studio)

Today, Lane, now 25, serves as a special assistant to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. A 2013 graduate of the UConn School of Social Work, Lane spent the past summer working as an intern in Blumenthal’s office as part of a highly competitive program open to former foster care youth. In late July, he was hired full-time. Once an intern, Lane now oversees the office’s internship program.

“I really enjoy being in D.C. and having an opportunity to be part of the legislative process,” says Lane. “I enjoy seeing first-hand how my research and hard work pays off.”

During his internship, Lane helped handle constituents’ requests, assisting individuals with social security disability claims, and helping a Connecticut family get their electric bills lowered so they could keep their home. He also presented a formal policy report on foster care and child welfare issues for the senator.

“From his first day here, Khaliyl was a hard-worker and demonstrated wisdom beyond his years,” says Blumenthal. “I'm proud to count Khaliyl as a member of my staff and I know he'll serve the people of Connecticut and the nation well.”