|Megan Racinowski outside the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.|
This semester, Megan Racinowski (sophomore, PSC major) is interning in Washington, DC, with Delaware Senator Tom Carper. She describes her experience in a guest blog post.
Senate 101: Interning with Senator Tom Carper
By Megan Racinowski
I approached Mr. Lamark Shaw early in my freshman year to discuss the Washington Internship Institute program. After our discussion I was ready to pack my bags and be off to DC, but I learned that I had to wait till at least my sophomore year to go on this journey. During my freshman year I continued to work hard but was eager to find out what the future holds. When the time came, I sent in my application to the WII in August 2017 and got an acceptance letter the very next day. I was very excited to start this journey and to be able to try something out of my comfort zone.
"I have a strong passion for environmental work and being able to work with the committee allowed me to see first-hand a push for change in environmental policy in a time when this is so important."Interning in Senator Tom Carper’s office is a very fun and important experience for me that is shaping the person I am becoming. The most important part for me is that Senator Carper is a ranking member on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which brings close cooperation with the workers on the committee. I have a strong passion for environmental work and being able to work with the committee allowed me to see first-hand a push for change in environmental policy in a time when this is so important. As an intern in Senator Carper’s office I am given the freedom to follow my policy interests by attending many different committee hearings, and connecting with individuals in those policy realms.
As an intern I do not answer phones all day, and often get to help with important tasks in the office varying from policy research for the Legislative Correspondents to helping get various Senators’ and Representatives’ signatures for co-sponsorship on legislation. One of the most memorable experiences from my internship was being able to get lunch with my fellow interns, my internship coordinator, and Senator Carper. Senator Carper always takes the time to personally meet with his interns and get to know them and their career goals. The Senator always made a point of saying hello to the interns and bringing interns into different meetings he would have. The atmosphere in the office was always welcoming and inviting, making me feel comfortable and excited to go to work every day. I will always cherish my time in Senator Carper’s office, and will continue to grow from my experience.
The WII program pushes students to become not only better people, but to become better students and workers as well. Students in the WII program's Inside Washington track take two different classes. One is a career seminar class and the another is a class of the student's choice, either in international relations or American politics. The career seminar class teaches students about presenting yourself within the job market and how to land the job of your dreams. Some of the activities in this class included a resume and cover letter workshop, mock job interviews, practicing an elevator speech, and discussing my career goals.
My class on American politics has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me gain self-confidence that I did not have before. I now feel comfortable to one day enter the job market, because I feel prepared and confident in myself and my ability. The class emphasizes debating skills and how to have a good discussion with peers about controversial issues like gun-control, abortion, and marriage equality. In the polarized political climate we are currently living in, the class has forced me to hear other people’s opinions and to try to understand different perspectives on issues. My fellow classmates are all working at different places--ranging from think tanks, to lobbying firms, to Capitol Hill--and being able to talk to them about their experiences helps me grow as a person and learn about the job world. I appreciate that the internship is teaching me what it is like to work in an office environment. I think the experience I am getting through my internship will set me apart from peers when I enter the job market.
|At the Women's March, January 2018|
The internship pushes me to take advantage of all the opportunities that come my way. My classes have helped me develop the skills I need to be successful in my future endeavors. I have grown and will continue to grow as a person from my internship/classes and am eager for my future. My internship has reignited the fire inside of me to fight for change and make a lasting difference in the world around me.
"My internship has reignited the fire inside of me to fight for change and make a lasting difference in the world around me."
For more information on the Washington Internship Institute, contact Mr. Lamark Shaw in Daemen's Career Services office.