Response to ‘Segregated internships’

Tim McDevitt- University alumnus

In reference to the Sept. 17 guest column “Segregated internships,” I, too, was fortunate enough to secure a Congressional Internship and can confirm it is a thrilling experience.

Although my House of Representatives internship was a paid one, the author was correct in pointing out how expensive it is to reside in Washington, D.C. Fortunately for me, the congressman’s staff I worked with bent over backward to assist me as I coped with adjusting to my new, amazing surroundings.

Paid internships are funded through individual office budgets, which vary according to the member’s seniority, status within his or her party and lobbying by members.

My boss happened to be the ranking minority member on the House Administration Committee and provided me a second paid internship with that committee and a unique, inside seat into the maneuverings of committee staffs.

The author’s internship was with a Senate office, and that made our experiences different. Senate staffs are large compared to the more intimate environment of a House or committee office.

An internship in Capitol Hill puts young adults at the bottom of the food chain. But I was in the same boat as many other interns, so the job meant making new friends and learning to survive.

My advice to any would-be congressional intern is to not let small obstacles interfere with the opportunity of a lifetime. One of the important lessons to be learned on Capitol Hill is that changes take place at a snail’s pace. The author’s suggestion of a federal grant program for unpaid internships would take years to receive approval and support.

Play the game with the opportunities available and find a way that will make the experience a reality for yourself.