Senate Internship: 06/10-06/23

Hi all! Still figuring out all the ins and outs of life on the Hill, bit by bit. My Metro navigation skills are honed, and I finally got a monthly pass so I don’t need to constantly reload my card. Living in a city is much more liberating than I imagined; I can pretty much go do anything I want in a way that is not sustainable on campus without a car. The business formal dress code has taken some adjusting to as well, but I like wearing suits to work.

I spent a lot of time last week wrapping up general training, figuring out the layout of the Capitol complex, and starting to study up on the necessary info for another intern duty: constituent tours. After days of studying a handbook packed with trivia about the Capitol building and Senate office buildings, I finally went out and walked the route on Tuesday with a staff assistant for my tour test (I passed!). I also started working in the front office last week, handling calls from constituents and assisting people coming in for meetings. This part of the job was the most intimidating for me, but I already feel like it as helped my communication skills so much.

Beyond the basic administrative duties, I have also had many opportunities to attend briefings and committee hearings, both for myself and on behalf of staffers. The first hearing I attended was the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet and covered the misuse of personal data by large companies such as Google. I also attended several briefings to take notes for the Health team in our office, on topics such as health data interoperability and drug pricing. I usually attend one event like this per day.

The most exciting part of the past couple weeks has been getting my first substantive projects to work on for staffers. For our Defense portfolio, I helped compile a spreadsheet with information on hundreds of information, but even more exciting was the work I did in Health. After doing some research for a staffer, I ultimately was tasked with writing a cosponsor recommendation for the Senator on a bill aiming to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States. This is an incredibly important issue, and in writing this memo for the Senator to see, I feel like I might actually be making a legitimate impact, even as an intern. I can’t wait to do more work like this in the future.

-Jack