Every morning I would get off the metro at Union Station and walk towards the entrance, seeing the Capitol Building in the distance. I would walk with the crowd of well-dressed D.C. professionals towards the Hart Senate Office Building, show my ID, and take the elevator to the 7th floor. Finally, I would look at the plaque outside the door that read, “United States Senator Tammy Baldwin,” as I walked in. Despite working on the hill all summer, I never seized to be in awe walking through the capitol to deliver something important or seeing a Senator who I look up to in the hallway. One day, when I was waiting for the elevator Senator Tom Carper from Delaware invited me to ride up with him in the “Senator’s Only” elevator! Participating in the Washington Internship Institute allowed me to be part of a community of college students living in DC from across the nation, take classes to improve my skills when applying to internships and in the professional world, and work on narrowing my future career path.
At my internship, I would code constituent correspondence, sort mail, and take constituent calls. I would also write constituent response letters, attend policy briefings, write issue memos, and sometimes even give capitol tours. I was assigned to the legislative team working with women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration, and disability rights, which is where my passions lie. Through this internship I could better understand what I wanted to do for my career. While in D.C. I also had the opportunity to attend an information panel on the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management, where I would like to get a master’s degree in legislative affairs. I enjoyed the experience working on human rights policy and have decided I would like to pursue a policy based career, either in a congressional office or at an advocacy organization. I am already looking at going back to Washington to do a policy/government relations internship at a women or LGBTQ based advocacy organization this summer. I did a political and policy based internship, but there are an incredible and diverse amount of options for all majors and interests in the D.C. area. This is a list of some of the many places students have interned through WII in the past:
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
American Heart Association
Street Sense United States Coast Guard
International Rescue Committee Council on Foreign Relations CBS News Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee One World Youth Project
I also got to meet some amazing people through the community of WII. We all stayed at a nice apartment building in Arlington, Virginia, which is only a quick metro ride to the District. I became friendly with all the people in the program this past summer, and we often hung out on the building’s roof top deck. I also got to spend more time with the people I met through our courses at WII. There was an Internship Seminar course that equips you with the tools for life in D.C., networking, and figuring out future career plans, along with an elective course. For my elective, I took “Global Women’s Leadership Development,” which was a mix of gender studies, history, political science, and sociology. I enjoyed how we got to visit different sites and ended the summer by working with a group to create a mock organization and the policy that it would push for. There are also courses in general political science, international affairs, and sometimes in environmental and health policy. The courses allowed us to apply what we were learning in our internships and allowed for a more well-rounded experience. Overall, it was an amazing summer and I would highly recommend the program!