OP-ED: D.C. internship unparalleled
Seneca said it best when he said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." This last spring, I was lucky enough to participate in one of the greatest opportunities of my life: I spent four unparalleled months in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
I had decided late in the fall semester that I wanted to do an internship to further my experience in the communications field. When I started looking, I was surprised at the wide variety of internship options available for students at Southern Utah University, but what caught my interest were the things I had heard about working on Capitol Hill, so I decided to pursue that route.
Ruling out Larry Craig and a few others, I decided to shoot for the top, and made a call to the office of SUU Alumnus, Sen. Harry Reid. I learned that the senator had only two spots open, and they were considering people from big east coast schools. Slightly discouraged, I submitted my application materials. With a little luck and a dynamite letter of recommendation from Mindy Benson, I was chosen to fill the last intern position for the Majority Leader's Democratic Communication Center.
Excitement turned quickly to a bit of panic when I realized that I now needed some way to pay for this once in a lifetime unpaid opportunity. I sat down and figured out how much money I would actually need. Even after a generous donation from "The Bank of Grandma," I still found myself short of the required funds.
I was advised by Career Services to submit a letter to the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service, stating my financial need as they have money for students from all majors for internships in Washington, D.C. To my amazement, I received a scholarship from the Center for the full amount I requested. Thanks to the Leavitt Center, my internship was made possible.
Living in D.C. for a semester not only afforded me the privilege of a beneficial internship, but also the ability to visit areas full of American history. I will never forget the first time I came out of the Capitol South Metro station, rounded the Cannon House Office Building, and saw the United States Capitol standing there in all its glory. It is an image that will stick with me forever.
On Martin Luther King Day I stood where the famous "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered, I walked the same halls that presidents, senators, and congressmen have walked, and I stood on the hallowed ground of great battlefields. I will forever remember these powerful places.
My internship with Sen. Reid allowed me to use the skills that I have learned here at SUU, while adding to my knowledge and understanding of the communication field. I had the opportunity to interact with a number of senators and other public figures, even appearing on CNN.
Living, working and learning in DC was an experience that I will never forget, and that I recommend to everyone. My internship with Sen. Reid turned out to be more valuable than I would ever imagine. I encourage everyone to visit the Leavitt Center and find out how you can get an internship in Washington, D.C. that best suits you.
© 2009 Dennis Busch