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


Jacob Maguire '21 interning at the Office of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during the 2020 winter term.

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Jacob Maguire ’21 interned at the Office of U.S Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during the 2020 winter term. Here is an excerpt from his internship report.

I interned full-time in the Washington, D.C. office of my state’s junior U.S. Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). My duties included sorting digital and physical mail from constituents; attending hearings and writing associated policy memos; escorting constituent groups to our congressional delegation’s two U.S. House offices; and completing various projects for the office alongside a team of four other interns, all of whom were part-time. 

One of my projects included comparing every defense-related and judiciary-related vote that Senators Whitehouse and Reed (also D-RI) have taken since the start of the 115th Congress. I noted every judicial nomination, defense-related resolution, or armed services funding bill on which Reed, the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Whitehouse, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted identically or diverged. I helped craft a memo of major takeaways for the Senator and his major advisors. My second project required me to help note every position held and reimbursement or gift received by all ~170 Article III federal appeals judges in 2016 and 2017. In both projects, I learned so much about the nominating process and the composition of the federal judiciary.  

Despite missing the last week of my ten-week internship due to COVID-19, I had a very enjoyable and informative experience. I had breakfast with Senator Whitehouse in the Senate Dining Room, watched about 90 minutes of the impeachment trial live in the U.S. Senate chamber, and learned so much – through listening and observation – about how Congress works. Being the sole full-time intern gave me significant agency within the office and enabled me to be the “go-to intern” for fellow interns and office staff. In addition, I strengthened my interpersonal skills by working collaboratively with my fellow interns, developed a healthy balance between being resourceful and asking questions when needed, and sharpened my time management skills. 

The three most positive parts of my internship were (1.) the historic events which took place on Capitol Hill during my time there; (2.) the constituent groups and members of Congress who I had the amazing opportunity to greet and interact with; and (3.) the hearings and briefings which I attended during my time on the Hill.

My previous completion of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program assisted me during my internship in the U.S. Senate. One of the skills that I learned in RGLP involved engaging in constructive and meaningful dialogue across difference. In our country’s closely (and often fiercely) divided Congress, knowing how to approach situations where another individual and I had ideological or political differences proved to be useful.

Overall, my internship made me extremely excited about public service, even though Capitol Hill felt like a cynical place at times.  I greatly enjoyed my time in the Senate and hope to pursue public service in some form, although state government or a local school board might be a better fit for me than the intensely polarized U.S. Congress.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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