Getting Accustomed to my Summer Internship

During these past weeks as an intern on Capitol Hill, I have responded to constituent emails and phone calls, led tours of the Capitol, and met with a variety of interesting people who work on the Hill. Surprisingly to me, I have also been able to delve into policy and the inner workings of Congress, which has been an amazing learning experience.

As an intern for an office in the House of Representatives, I did not expect to do much other than answer constituent correspondence. While I was happy to do this, I was even more eager to learn that my office would give me the chance to work on policy issues ranging from women’s rights to sustainable agriculture. For me, learning about policy began with attending congressional hearings. Sitting in on these often 8-9 hour long meetings taught me about bill and amendment introduction, bipartisanship, and the legislative process. I have also collaborated with Legislative Assistants (LAs) to develop bills. Recently, I have spent a lot of time on a school transportation bill the Representative will be introducing. Transportation is an area very far outside of my comfort zone, but I have learned so much from research and constituent meetings. I discussed the issue with key stakeholders, compiled data, and even helped name the bill! Watching as the act I assisted with was introduced in the House of Representatives was an amazing feeling. Lastly, after researching recent news and legislation, I propose one piece of environmental legislation that the Representative should cosponsor each week. I then discuss this proposal with the LA for the environment and learn about the feasibility of certain legislation.

Entering this internship as an Environmental Policy and Law major, I knew I wanted to focus on environmental issues. However, I had no idea that I would also gain experience and interest in topics such as transportation, veterans affairs, and agriculture. This past month has taught me to branch out of what I know, since there are policy areas that interest me more than I initially believed. The only way I was able to reach this conclusion was by offering help to all staff in the office, no matter their issue area. This has taught me to be enthusiastic about all of the work I do, even if it is outside of what I expected to work on, and to offer to help additional departments in my free time. By doing so, I will expand my interests and learn more about myself and the field I am in. This can help me to improve my resume, better my performance in the workplace, and enjoy the work I do even more. I hope to carry this eager attitude throughout my professional career. Instead of solely focusing on one topic, I know that if I expand my knowledge and offer up my help wherever it is needed, I will gain more from each experience!

By Erica Albert
Erica Albert