Matt, do you use the Quick filters (icons) or pull down menu to change to "Parts"
i have found if i use the Quick Filter icons, it doesn't remember my last selection, but if i use the pull down it does remember. therefore, use the pull down, pick part. insert something, try again and hopefully it "sticks".
thanks for helping me out. unfortunately my computer isn't remembering my last selection. This may be a windows issue more than a solidworks issue.