The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Aaron Cheese '18

Aaron Cheese '18 interned at the Manchester office of US Senator Maggie Hassan during the 2017 Summer Term.

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 Aaron Cheese '18 interned at the Manchester office of US Senator Maggie Hassan during the 2017 Summer Term with support from the Perkins Bass '34 Fund. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.

The office was home to the State Director, Deputy State Director, several constituent staffers and policy staffers. The majority of my work was writing letters to various persons and organizations; examples of these include a letter for the dedication of a building to a veteran New Hampshire politician as well as one thanking Harrison Holt, a young boy who saved his baby sister from a house fire, for his bravery. In addition, I monitored a region of New Hampshire known as “North Country” by reading local newspapers (e.g., the Colebrook News and Sentinel). This project was used to augment Senator Hassan’s presence in this region, either by attending events that were discovered through the newspapers or by writing letters to said events in support of their cause or organization. The team of interns also created two interactive maps: one of the constituent staffers’ office hours around the state and one showing the events that the Senator had attended. This tracking helped identify the locations and types of events that Senator Hassan may have been neglecting.

The three beneficial parts of my internship were my proximity to the inner workings of a political office , my coworkers, and the opportunities I had to engage with New Hampshire politics. Being in an office that was centered on serving its constituents allowed me to gain valuable knowledge without partisan spin. The staffers in the office were also very friendly and helpful. I was able to learn at my own pace and engage with the staffers in a pleasant environment that was focused on helping people and doing the best that we can to make their lives better. In addition, the interns were given the opportunity to interact with state senators and non-profit organizations when they came into the office for a meeting or when they were staffing events with Senator Hassan. Most of the skills I gained were related to networking. I was able to learn how to socialize with colleagues older than me in a professional context, in a way that both can help further my career and produce genuine relationships. This will help me as I am graduating this year and seeking employment in the government sector.

The experience opened my eyes to exploring other possible paths to entering politics. I now intend on taking time before law school to assess how the knowledge I’ve gained from my major concentration and minor—political theory and African-American Studies, respectively—can be used to effectuate change within the realm of politics. I would not have been able to complete this internship if it weren’t for the Rockefeller Center Internship Program and the grant I received from Perkins Bass. I am thankful for this experience and for those at Dartmouth and the Office of US Senator Maggie Hassan that helped me along the way.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences