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

Notes from the Field: Lindsay Keare '16

Article Type 
Student Intern: Lindsay Keare '16

Internship Organization: 
U.S. Senate: Office of Senator Barbara Boxer

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
Like any senator, she's responsible for representing Californians (all forty million of them!) at the federal level, along with Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Boxer is the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, so much of the legislation she drafts revolves around these issues. She is also on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
As an intern, I've gotten to interact with constituents on both the phones and while giving tours of the Capitol building. I help process constituent mail, correspondence from organizations, and policy letters as well. One of my favorite parts has been getting to work with legislative staffers on projects covering all sorts of issues from labor laws, economic policy, foreign relations and more. We also have the opportunity to go to guest lectures, hearings, and briefings, which have given me greater insight into a wide variety of current issues and the politics behind them.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
While I was nervous on the first day, the staff makes sure interns are thoroughly trained in every job we take on, so I quickly became prepared despite the fast pace of the office. It also helped that there were five or six interns who started before me, so they were invaluable when it came to helping me learn the ropes.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
It's incredible how well-informed you get by being in the Senate, not only about the outcomes of votes, but about how policy is crafted, how issues are debated, and how constituents feel about all the topics of the day. Getting to know my co-workers and the other interns has also been really fun and rewarding, especially since we all have so much in common in terms of our interests and political views.

What challenges have you faced so far?
One of our most important jobs is making sure constituents' voices are heard, while at the same time representing the senator and her policy views. At first it was challenging to deal with the wide range of opinions our constituents hold, by trying to please everyone on the phone. I realized pretty soon this was impossible and that being polite but firm in conveying Senator Boxer's public stances was a generally successful tactic.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to have taken advantage of all the opportunities afforded to me such as getting to go to important hearings on the most pressing issues. I also hope to have learned a lot from the staffers in my office and have a better idea of what I want to do once I graduate.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
Make breakfast and a bagged lunch at home during the week if you can. It definitely saves you a lot of money in the long run. Also, break in your shoes before you start wearing them to work! Also, at least in DC, buses are way cheaper than the metro, so try to find a route that works for you!

 

 

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