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

Notes from the Field: Josefina Ruiz '17

Article Type 
Student Intern: Josefina Ruiz '17

Internship Organization:
US House of Representatives, Office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
The District Office of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is an incredible resource to the community in the 30th District of Texas. We specifically work on resolving issues that constituents may have with federal agencies. This office proves its dedication to the community every day, however, by helping anyone who calls, even if only with simpler, local issues. Our goal is to make sure that each constituent knows that they have a representative whom they can count on.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I am responsible for assisting staff in their projects, sending out condolence letters to the families of those in our district who have passed away in, briefing my supervisor on immigration news, updating our constituent resources database, and participating in staff meetings. I attend events in the community as they occur and report information back to the office. I also serve as support staff at our organized events by running the registration table or ensuring that everything is set in place and working in a timely manner. My duties overall include research, community outreach through letters and phone calls, and secretarial duties.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
I felt very nervous on the first day and was naturally meticulous about my speech, behavior, and dress. At the same time, I felt very excited as this was my first internship experience, and I had many goals already in mind. I wanted to leave a great first-impression.

As I became more comfortable, I behaved more naturally. My love for food led me to bring Mexican "pan dulce" to work one day. On that day, Director Esperanza exclaimed, "Wow, I feel like I'm at home!" The next day, a colleague paid me to bring more. But on the third day, another colleague said with a voice of a reprimanding mother, "Josefina, I'm going to kill you! You brought in that sweet bread and look what you've done. I couldn't help want more, so on I went to the bakery, and today my sugar was too high!" We laughed about it together.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
My favorite experience was personally delivering Valentine's Day cards at the Parkland Memorial Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. My colleague and I were given a special tour of this unit, where I saw the smallest babies I had ever seen in my life and the most delicate and attentive health care given to them. I was very impressed and proud of the evolution of health care for newborns, especially at the hospital where I was born myself. I enjoyed sharing joy and love with mothers who had recently given birth and needed some uplifting at such critical times.

What challenges have you faced so far?
One of my challenges has been dealing with the other interns. I'm the only one of four interns who work full-time. It's frustrating to respond to the staff when mistakes are made from the intern office, mistakes which may have been a result of the other interns. However, I don't place the blame on them. Instead, I try my best to help the other interns when they are working, answer any questions, and catch mistakes before they happen. With respect and kindness, it has always worked out.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to stay connected to the staff and establish relationships so that each time I visit Dallas, I can come and say hello to them without awkwardness. One of my colleagues has already said that if I am ever in Dallas again, I could likely come and work for them. I also hope to leave my footprint in the office so that the projects I initiated can be successfully completed.

Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy.



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