This summer, I am interning for Senator Debbie Stabenow [D-MI] on Capitol Hill. My father suggested that I contact my senators about an internship opportunity, and without any expectations I submitted an application. A few months later, I was contacted for a phone interview, and I got a position as a legislative intern!
I have a lot of responsibilities as a legislative intern. Each one of us is assigned to a policy area, from environment to healthcare to defense. I work with the tax and econ legislative aide, and I do a lot of research on a variety of issues. The most recent little project was to find data on insourcing rates in Michigan as well as news stories of companies bringing jobs back to the states. There are also many briefings on a variety of topics, and I would attend these meetings and synthesize the information into a memo for them. I’m majoring in Environmental Science, so tax and econ is way out of my comfort zone, but it has been a huge blessing to be learning about an otherwise unfamiliar policy area.
I also work under the speechwriter, who is the Deputy Chief of Staff. He is in charge of communication as well as the senator’s presentations on the floor. Consequently, I go to the Democratic Cloakroom in the Capitol building very often, running errands and making sure everything is ready for when she addresses the Senate. In fact, I go to the Capitol so often that security guards there recognize me! During the month of August, we produce constituent newsletters, and I will be working on writing small articles for that as well!
To be honest, when I came to the Capitol, I expected to do very trivial tasks, and basically live the intern nightmare. However, I am so glad to be proven wrong, and I am forever grateful that I have been able to get involved with legislation and politics. My advice for other students looking to work for a senator is to definitely strive to do as much as you can, be open and willing to do some extra work. People notice, and as your supervisors trust you more, they are more likely to assign you relevant work. I have learned so much, and I still have a month to go! Who knows what else I will pick up during my time on the Hill!
About the NU Intern Blogger Program
This summer, over 50 Northwestern University students will be sharing stories about what they are experiencing at their internships from across the country and internationally. Each week new students will share an inside look at what it means to be an intern. Please contact Betsy Gill, Assistant Director, Internship Services if you have any questions.