Intern, US House of Representatives
Concentration: International Relations
Class Year: 2022
What was a typical week like in your internship position?
I worked in Congressman Neguse's D.C. Congressional Office so there was really no such thing as a "typical week" or something that we all worked on for the whole semester because everything was always changing and evolving. Every week I'd work on sorting through constituent emails and writing responses to them. The responses would differ from day to day normally, which is why it was so important for everyone in the office to stay up to date with what was happening in Congress, the country in general, in the state of Colorado, and also in the district (CO-02). Every week or so we as interns would get new projects to work on. For example, Colorado has very bad wildfire seasons so we had to work on lists of people and companies that volunteered their time to help cities that were severely affected by the fires and write letters to them. Then something new would happen like the 2020 election and we'd have to start new projects that dealt with the election cycle. So, we did basics like responding to emails but the context of our responses and projects we worked on were constantly changing with what was happening in the country which I really enjoyed.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
I love being able to work in the current happenings with this internship. Interning for a congressman, I had to stay up to date with a lot of the headline news and bills being brought to the floor and it was amazing to feel like I was really a part of what is happening in our country right now. I was also able to meet everyone working in the DC office for the congressman but also meet people who work in the Boulder and Fort Collins offices. I was also able to speak with the congressman which was enlightening and an opportunity that I wouldn't have if I wasn't interning for him. By interning for a congressional office, it provided access to what the general public was thinking, more so than what the average person could gather. I really enjoyed being able to read what was concerning the people of CO-02 and it helped me better understand what others are going through.
How did your coursework help you in your internship?
In many of my courses, I learned how to write memos and concisely summarize different articles and speeches which I used a lot in my internship. During my time interning for the congressman, I would attend panels on a variety of subjects and for some of them I was required to write memos outlining what was talked about and the general ideas and basis for the panel. My coursework helped me to know which ideas were the most important and how to convey the general idea of the panel without writing a whole essay. Learning how to write concisely is definitely one of the most important skills I have learned in my coursework and also how to be able to write it in a timely manner. I also used this skill when writing constituent letters where I had to summarize a massive big or social problem into one or two paragraphs and in a way that was easy to understand.
How did you locate your internship position?
I actually have always wanted to intern at Congress and knew I wanted to work with someone from my own state. I started to read about all the Congresspeople from the state of Colorado and decided which offices I believed I would fit in most at and applied to their internships through their respective websites. I think applying to internships in Congress is really easy because they are so easy to locate on either the House/Senate websites or directly through the websites of the congress people that you want to work for.
Advice for students:
My advice would be to intern somewhere where you think you'll have fun, not just somewhere random because you got an internship there or because it's more "high-profile". I've had two internships and I enjoyed this opportunity with Congressman Neguse a lot more than the other opportunity because this was somewhere I truly wanted to intern and got along with everyone working there. To go along with this, I think it's important to think about the setting of an internship as well as that was what made me enjoy this one as much as I did. This internship, although remote, was much more open. Everyone in the office, including the congressman, was laid back and it felt like an office with everyone - instead of everyone having their own desk and own office which breaks up the feeling of being in it together. It's great to get internship offers but I think it's important to think about whether or not you'll truly enjoy it because if it's something you dread every time you go in, I think it won't be as meaningful as an internship should be.