Internship Spotlight II: Spring 2016

Courtney Selle, Taylor University

Courtney Selle internshipI am currently interning with the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee under the office of the chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander. In this internship, I am specifically working in the education office; however, I also assist with the other areas: health, labor and pensions, as well as work on tasks for the personal office. On a day-to-day basis, I will research the daily news on education and labor issues, attend professional development courses, take notes at a briefing, sit in on staff meetings, and take a few phone calls.

I took this internship without knowing the specific details of what I would be doing, but I can say that the internship definitely has helped prepare me for a future career in education policy. Not only am I learning a wealth of knowledge on education policy and how the policy process works, but I am also meeting highly connected people who have advocated on my behalf as I look to find a job after I graduate at the end of this program. Furthermore the office culture has been counter to what I expected. I was expecting a cutthroat office environment where you are constantly critiqued and people are stomping on their colleagues to get ahead — NOT TRUE! Don’t believe everything you see on T.V. Instead I am constantly thanked for the most menial tasks, even when I do them wrong, and people have been so willing to lend their help to others and myself. I have truly enjoyed my internship and am thankful for the opportunity. If there are any future ASPers who want to intern on the Hill but who are more interested in policy work than constituent work, I would recommend that that to try to intern for a committee!

Ashley Bloemhof, Dordt College

Ashley Bloemhof internshipAs an intern at the American Conservative, I recently had the opportunity to work as a credentialed media reporter at CPAC 2016, the largest Republican conference in the nation. Suits and stilettos crowded the Potomac Ballroom at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Maryland, and though the organized chaos may have driven others mad, I could not have been happier to rub shoulders with exceptional writers and photographers. The experience opened my eyes to the daily routine of a journalist and furthered my understanding about what it means to write, and write well, to meet a deadline. Though thoroughly exhausted the week after, I feel incredibly blessed not only as a writer but as a believer as well. In the midst of an election season, it becomes all too easy to settle back into complacency and whine about the current state of our union. However, though the presentations of CPAC speakers and panelists undoubtedly contained rhetoric purposed solely to “rally the troops,” I truly do believe that there are honest, hardworking individuals in the legislature. I will not take for granted the lessons I learned this weekend and hope to continue building on them each and every day.

Internship Spotlight I: Spring 2016

Hannah Scheenstra, Vanguard University of Southern California

Hannah ScheenstraThis semester, I am interning on Capitol Hill with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform, and their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom has triggered my interest in military affairs. Having my brother in the military also opened my mind up to the life of a soldier and, therefore, encouraged me to pursue this opportunity to extend my knowledge on national security and defense issues.

Being the largest committee in the House of Representatives, HASC holds 63 members and an equally large staff. I get the opportunity to pick which issues interest me the most and reach out to the clerks or professional staff members to offer my help. Whether it be a hearing on emerging worldwide threats or just managing phones at the front desk, I continue to learn something new everyday. The work that I do in the office varies week to week. I assist with both full committee and subcommittee hearings, assist with briefings, and help with various projects related to the defense budget. Everyday I get to meet important military personnel and interact with multiple congressman and their staffers. At this point, I have lost track of how many different people I meet on a daily basis! Probably the coolest thing that has happened so far is seeing both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.

Needless to say, I am immensely grateful that I have the privilege to intern with this committee, even if it is just for 4 months. I have learned so much and I have seen myself grow in more ways than one.

Patrick Hubbard, Taylor University

I am spending this semester interning for the Clapham Group, a creative consulting firm out in Virginia. This organization does work for a diverse array of clients, and I have been able to work on several projects aimed at connecting people of faith with organizations related to social justice. My first few weeks were spent doing research to develop a new nonprofit through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one that would connect millennials of faith to international organizations doing ministry in the fields of development and public health. Through this project, I was given the opportunity to see what goes into the development of new organizations, and how international development must be approached from an organizational standpoint.

Another project in which I got to participate was focused on the racial and economic inequalities that affect educational opportunity across the United States. I attended a collective action meeting hosted by the Expectations Project (a D.C.-based education advocacy organization) and attended by representatives from the National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners Magazine, World Vision, and the Center for Public Justice, among many others. At this convention, I was able to see power actually being exercised for positive change and was astounded that what I witnessed was actually something that could make a real difference in the lives of those who are discriminated against and unfairly disadvantaged. Through these two projects, I have learned much about the ways that Christians can utilize their social and political capital for good in the lives of others, both worldwide and domestically. I have been inspired by seeing strong Christians use their positions of power to effect real change and am thrilled that my own research and support can aid these efforts in some small way.

Internship Spotlight II: Fall 2015

Kathryn Hopper, Westmont College

Kathryn Hopper internshipThis semester I have had the privilege of interning for Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). As a local from the district he represents, the office has been a nice taste of home even though I am living on the opposite side of the country. My role in the office gives me several opportunities to interact with constituents, either on the phone listening to their concerns or in person when I get to take those visiting on a tour of the Capitol. The last couple of months have flown by, and I am incredibly blessed to have had so many wonderful experiences thus far. Last week I attended a hearing when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. I also had the chance to see the Pope during his first visit to Washington D.C., to watch as Paul Ryan was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House, and to be present for several major votes on legislation addressing the budget, defunding Planned Parenthood, and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. I have thoroughly enjoyed having a front row seat to history in just the handful of weeks I have been on the Hill.

Victoria Goebel, Gordon College

2015-09-14 19.21.29 - CopyThis semester I am interning at the Borenstein Group in Fairfax, VA. BG is an integrated marketing agency that works with PR, advertising, branding, and digital strategy. The work mostly focuses on business-to-business and business-to-government companies in tech, security, and intelligence. Since starting in September, I have had the chance to experience all parts of agency life.

The Borenstein Group is a small firm, and this has given me the chance to have plenty of hands-on experience. I have worked on research, planning, social media, and a variety of projects. This internship has given me the opportunity to learn about industries I did not know much about and discover the world of government contractors.

My favorite part of the internship experience is applying 3 years of classroom learning to a real-life setting. It has been rewarding to see how lessons learned in the classroom apply to the work force. I definitely have developed a better appreciation for the ways in which Gordon has prepared me for this opportunity.

Internship Spotlight I: Fall 2015

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

Jennifer1I 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

Eric1This 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

Brandan1I 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.

Internship Spotlight II: Spring 2015

ev (1)Tim Carr, Gordon College

This semester, I am interning in the Crime Scene Investigations Division of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. My main duties include assisting with Crime Report records and also assisting crime scene detectives on scene and in the office. I am learning about many different facets of the police department.  Every day I am doing something different.

One of the most “fun” things that I have done was going to a homicide investigation and getting firsthand experience at processing a crime scene. Other days, I have had the opportunity to go to the D.C. Superior Court and sit in on casesev, which proves to be both interesting and a great learning experience. My internship is in many ways indescribable–in some cases because I am not allowed to talk about all of it but also because this is a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. The impact that the officers and leadership have made on me will be lifelong.  My future career as a law enforcement official will be bettered because of my experience here this spring.

IMG_6666Alexcis Albert, Vanguard University of Southern California

I am an executive intern at the State of Florida’s Office in the Hall of States Building of Washington D.C. The Executive Office of Florida is a very interesting and busy office where we are the liaison between the federal government and Florida state government. Part of my responsibilities includes correspondence and research for the members in my office who represent the Governor of Florida. The nature of my work is communicating with the Florida congressional delegation and attending hearings pertaining to Floridian issues such as Cuba, Immigration, Education, Healthcare, and Veterans Affairs. My time hereIMG_7017 has been wonderful! My office has given me the freedom to work on issues that are of interest to me, and being able to see senators and representatives who work on issues important to the entire nation has been fascinating and humbling. The most exciting event of my internship was being able to meet Governor Scott of Florida; it was definitely a moment I will carry with me for years to come!

Internship Spotlights I: Spring 2015

The Spring 2015 semester is flying by as students go to their internships and work on their group projects.  Three students took a few moments to report on how their internships are going.

Conference room mural at the Institute for Policy Studies

Conference room mural at the Institute for Policy Studies

Christina McIntyre, Messiah College

I’m a poverty policy intern at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). IPS is an activist-oriented think tank of public scholars. Over the past few weeks at IPS, I’ve been learning what it means to be a public scholar: to use research for social change. It’s public service through grassroots, academic, and institutional activism. My research at IPS focuses on economic hardship in the U.S. I’ve written about education inequalities, homelessness, and economic segregation. Currently, I’m helping to coordinate advocacy between Maryland and D.C. lawmakers for criminal justice reform. My internship at IPS has taken me all over the city to hearings on the Hill, meetings with activists at Busboys and Poets, and presentations by Brookings, New America, and other think tanks. Interning in D.C. is an incredible opportunity to engage the issues and ideas I care most about.

albertoAlberto Sanchez, Fresno Pacific University

My name is Alberto Sanchez, and I am currently interning for Senator Johnson’s office. I do a lot of different things in the office. I am slowly becoming accustomed to the internship routine. Every morning, I prepare newspapers for every staff member; I also sort mail appropriately as it comes in. The tasks that I do can seem dull; however, I like to think that I am contributing by serving the American people. There have been a lot of interesting experiences that I have had thus far. For example, the other day I met with my chief of staff. He said that interns are just as important as a chief of staff or legislative aid; he told me that interns deserve respect.  I was proud after the conversation that I had with him. I learned that interns are very important contributors to the welfare of the nation. I also enjoy giving tours of the Capitol. The Capitol is majestically beautiful from the inside. I am very happy that I have the opportunity to intern on the Hill. Lastly, the staff members at Senator Johnson’s office are very nice and cordial. They have told me that I can talk to them whenever I want about anything relating to their field of expertise. Furthermore, I have attended committee hearings that have expanded my knowledge of issues such as immigration, foreign relations, and national security. Clearly, I am learning about the importance of the United States Senate and how interns contribute to the nation’s prosperity.

Amanda Bishop, Biola University

I am the External Affairs intern at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI is a policy think tank that aims to produce the best scholarly work on a variety of issues. Our scholars’ work is published for policymakers and the public to read. My job is to assist in promoting the work put out by AEI scholars and maintaining connections with the public. So… what does that look like on a daily basis? Well, it depends. Some days, I sit in front of a computer screen for 5 or 6 hours, updating a database of contact information. Last week, I went to C-PAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where I got to give out books written by AEI scholars and hear speakers like the Former Ambassador to the UN. Sometimes, things get really exciting. For instance, a few weeks back I found myself shaking Newt Gingrich’s hand in a meeting of less than 20 people where I was taking notes. The week after that, I sat in on a presentation about the struggle for freedom in Iraq and afterward said hello the the Iraqi Ambassador.  And instead of being asked to fetch coffee, the AEI provides a fresh carafe of Seattle’s Best for staff and interns every few hours.

Internship Spotlights II: Fall 2014

As ASP heads into the last few weeks of internships, three students reflect on their experiences at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the House of Representatives, and National Conference of State Legislatures.

Madison Carper 4

Madi Carper, Malone University

This semester, I am interning at the National Air and Space Museum in the Education department. Currently, my main projects involve researching topics for next year’s TechQuest, an alternate reality game at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center that allows participants to do hands-on learning about Cold War reconnaissance, and helping plan an event at the museum for an organization called Creative Mornings. I also get to attend various meetings around the museum departments, write lesson plans, and explore the archives for information about various artifacts involved in TechQuest.

madison carperSo far, the coolest thing I have done at my internship is participate in a brainstorming meeting for future exhibits in the museum. I was able to be included in the discussion and brainstorming activities just like the full time museum employees. Who knows, you might see one of my ideas as an exhibit one day!

My internship is such a rich experience that words cannot accurately describe it. I am able to visit iconic planes, such as the Enola Gay (the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb used in combat over Hiroshima, Japan) and Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B (the bright red plane that Earhart is known for). My internship days are full of joy because I get to be in the best museum in the world.

10710682_10154776314970585_6528598762682877192_nShaefer Bagwell, Biola University

This semester, I’m interning at the office of Congressman Ami Bera, from my hometown of Sacramento. During the time ramping up to our internships, so many speakers had great advice for us. One of the most important things they told us to do is simple — make sure that the staff in your office knows what you’re interested in. If it wasn’t for that advice, I would’ve missed out on one of the coolest parts of my internship so far.

Since coming to the American Studies Program, I’ve discovered an interest in international relations. Luckily, my congressman sits on the Foreign Affairs committee, so we have a staff member who is devoted to the work that the committee does. So, to follow the advice of our speakers, I told her about my interest. The next 2014-09-15 19.03.43day, she asked me if I would like to come with her to a meeting of the full committee. As we sat in the staff room off to one side, she poked her head through a door, then motioned to me. “If you go through this door,” she said, “there’s a seat right there. You can have a better view than on the staff TV.” It turned out that the seat she was referring to was on the dais behind the committee. Before I knew it, my face was on C-SPAN and I was making eye contact with John Kerry.

DC is full of opportunities like that. In my time here, I’ve seen ambassadors, senators, congressmen, governors, and the Vice President. I’ve been in a senator’s house! If you take some time, make your interests known, and pay attention to what’s going on around you, you can see stuff that’ll blow your mind.

NCSLMarion Githegi, Emmanuel College

As an immigration intern at the National Conference of State Legislatures, my office window overlooks the beautiful landscape surrounding Union Station. Prior to my first day “on the job”, I was a little apprehensive–as an intern should be–with my expectations being characterized as somewhat ambiguous. Little did I know that this experience was the ideal organization for a semester-long program focused on public policy.  Most internships primarily expose an intern to administrative work but not NCSL 2NCSL! In fact, during my first meeting with Ann Morse, the intern supervisor, her exact words were “at NCSL you’re not an intern, but you’re part of the team.” I thought she said this to be polite, but since then I have attended briefings both on the Hill and at various organizations, written memos for both briefings and conference calls, interpreted legislation to be read by state legislatures, and collated research information on current immigration issues from various non-partisan organizations. I could go on, but those tasks highlight some areas covered as an intern.

As an ASP student on the public policy track, I could not have asked for a more fitting internship program because everything I have learned in the classroom has directly translated into my duties as an intern at NCSL. To add icing on the cake, my supervisor Ann Morse is the most approachable, caring, down to earth, and genuine individual I have ever had the privilege of working for. This experience has been thoroughly enjoyable, and I would recommend it to anyone considering the public policy track!

Internship Spotlights I: Fall 2014

ASP students have only been at their internships three weeks, but they’re already busy! Read on for reflections from four students interning at the Department of Justice, American Enterprise Institute, and the U.S. House of Representatives.


Justin Botejue, Whitworth University:

“I am a legal intern at the Department of Justice – Office of Legislative Affairs, in the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Main Building.  The Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) is a very busy office where we are the bridge between the Justice Department and Congress.  Part of my responsibilities include correspondence, referrals, and legal research for Members of Congress and their staffers with any requests and questions that they have.  The nature of my work is classified as confidential, but I am working on projects for Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik and compiling and researching projects for the attorneys at the OLA. I cannot imagine a better 10641296_831233700240735_5135991796745598034_ninternship fit than the DOJ-OLA! It’s certainly challenging ‘brain’ work that leaves me exhausted at the end of the day, but I am learning, seeing, and doing more than any expectation that I had coming in. The attorneys at the office are very helpful, kind, and supportive, and I even sit by one at church at National Presbyterian Church! It was only my third day on the job when Attorney General, Eric Holder, resigned from his position–truly, there cannot be a more interesting time to be in the office!”


internship 6Diana Nesukh, Warner Pacific University:

“On the first day of my internship, I felt extremely out of my league. I was interning in the House of Representatives – was it real life? My Congressman (Elijah Cummings) is the Ranking Member on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is on the Select Committee on Benghazi. Naturally, my first day was also the first day of the Benghazi hearings. My supervisor gave me a brief synopsis of my duties in the first half hour and then basically threw me in the deep end. Surprisingly, listening to people yell on the phone was not the worst part of that day. The worst part was my choice in footwear. I quickly realized heels were not optimal for my job. Not only were the floors exceptionally waxed that day, making every step slippery, but I toured all three House office buildings and Capitol which gave me huge blisters. That wasCong. Cummings the first and definitely last day of wearing heels to work (I stick with flats now). The best part of my internship thus far, however, has actually been outside of the office. I was able to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Reception where I totally felt like a VIP. I met a ton of important people, ate delicious food, danced, and got a great picture with the Congressman. I have been at my internship for about three weeks now and the novelty of the Hill has still not worn off!”



Internship 1Emily Hardman, Palm Beach Atlantic University:

“Hi, my name is Emily Hardman and I am interning at the American Enterprise Institute. I am working in the Political Corner on polling data for AEI scholar Karlyn Bowman. So far my work has included researching polling data on American Opinion on Affirmative Action, American Opinion on births out of wedlock, and American Opinion on negotiating with terrorists for hostage ransoms. This morning I heard television journalist and former CNN correspondent Campbell Brown discuss her upcoming lawsuit with the state of1001141104 New York regarding outdated teacher tenure policy. This afternoon I will be finishing up my Affirmative Action research for the department to send to a client. I am enjoying the pertinent and varied work here at AEI!”




Internship 2Chris Rednour, Mount Vernon Nazarene University:

“I am interning in the Congressional Office of Speaker of the House John Boehner. My daily duties consist of sorting constituent mail, sending and receiving flags flown over the Capitol that are requested from constituents, and giving tours of the Capitol. Along with these daily duties, I frequently get special assignments from the office aides that keep the days interesting. Working in the Speaker’s office has been thrilling, as I have gotten the chance to attend cool andinternship 3 important events, meet the Speaker, and spend a good amount of time in the halls of our nation’s Capitol. One cool event I got to attend, for example, was his Backyard Barbeque event! My experience thus far has been only positive and has made Capitol Hill even more attractive than I had thought possible.”



ASP internship sites are as diverse as our students’ interests! For a full list from the past seven years, please click here.

Staff Spotlight: Elizabeth Pitts

Elizabeth Pitts


Elizabeth Pitts
Internship Director

Elizabeth Pitts has worked at ASP for the past five years.  She is originally from South Carolina and attended Wheaton College in Illinois.  Elizabeth has worked in higher education for 15 years and loves engaging with college students as they build professional skills and prepare to transition into the working world.  At ASP, she directs the Internship course, Professional Mentorship Course, and alumni relations.  Elizabeth is currently conducting research for her dissertation and hopes to earn her Ph.D. in higher education in the next year.  She and her husband Lee live in Alexandria, VA, and they love camping, hiking, and leading a church small group together.  They’re expecting their first child, a daughter, in December 2014.