Fall 2015 students just finished the third week of their internships! Three students took a few moments to report on what they’re doing and what they’ve learned.
Jennifer Mayorga, University of Northwestern – St. Paul
I am the Immigration Policy Project Intern at the National Conference of State Legislatures. My internship has offered me an opportunity to reconnect with my first policy love: immigration. Coming from an immigrant family and recognizing all the issues related to our broken immigration system, I knew I had to come to Washington D.C. to learn about and get up to date on what our government is doing. My internship supervisor has allowed me the opportunity to attend a variety of hearings and briefings that expose me to the key players in the immigration debate.
My most recent project didn’t actually have to do with the type of immigration issues I grew up with but with the refugee crisis that has turned into a hot topic in Congress. I spent two weeks researching every website on refugee resettlement and reading reports from a variety of organizations and government offices. My supervisor asked me to create a fact sheet that she could take to informational sessions with legislators and governors. I was intimidated by the caliber of writing I was expected to produce! I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I saw my own senators advocate for more refugees and use our state as an example of a welcoming community. I saw my government, my democracy in action that day, and I think that is what has made my internship such a valuable experience for me. The opportunity to research and write and truly understand the barriers we face when creating public policy has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned during my short time at NCSL.
Eric Hensel, Gordon College
This semester in D.C., I’m interning in the office of Senator Kelly Ayotte of NH. This past summer, I interned in the senator’s state office and absolutely loved it. I definitely made the right decision to intern for her in D.C. There’s something special about the Hill. The atmosphere is intense, fast paced, and invigorating. The other day I was walking through the Capitol and passed John McCain — no big deal. Everywhere you turn, there is someone who has a hand in shaping the policy of the free world. It’s both incredibly intimidating and incredibly exhilarating all at once. I’ve gotten to do some amazing work in the area of defense while in Senator Ayotte’s office. As I’ve spent time preparing for briefings, I’ve found out firsthand not only that congressional staffers are mind-blowingly brilliant, but also that the issues they work on are really interesting!
My favorite moment of my internship so far happened a few days ago. I got a chance, near the end of the day, just to explore the Capitol all by myself. I made my way to the rotunda and found myself all alone. It was intensely quiet, and I was floored by a realization. Here I was, all alone, in the Capitol dome of the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth. It was beyond amazing to truly take in the rotunda, really examine the paintings, and just marvel at where I was. There’s something intensely beautiful about the quiet Capitol, and I was incredibly fortunate enough to wander into it. That’s the great thing about D.C. and ASP: you’ll stumble into a phenomenal experience right when you weren’t expecting it.
Brandan Wilchcombe, Taylor University
I am originally from the Bahamas, and now I live in Indiana and attend Taylor University. I never thought I would actually be here in Washington D.C., interning for the Washington Redskins Business Development and Operations Department, but I am, and it is awesome. At the games, I assist with handing out the field passes, and sometimes I walk the clients down to the field or take them into the tunnel access area. I also shadow my supervisor while he checks the suites. During the Redskins’ season opener against the Dolphins, I got to meet the Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe and take a picture with him. When we went into our suite to watch the rest of the game, I met former NBA player Marcus Camby and actor Colton Haynes. Serena Williams was even there! This was a great start to my job, but besides working games, I also have office work. My tasks include entering and updating client information in our CRM, doing research, writing biographies for clients, and reaching out to clients about invitations. While I work, players from the team often walk by! At first it was shocking to see Robert Griffin III walking past, but now it just seems like a normal day. So far my internship has been great. I am really working hard, but there is still more I need to learn before I am done. I am really thankful for my supervisor because he is teaching me a lot. He is very determined and hard-working and does his best to make sure everything is done right.
Besides my internship, I am really enjoying this time working with my team in the Communications track. We are working hard and doing our best to complete our case studies and client work. ASP is a really good program, especially for new experiences and opportunities.