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

Notes From the Field: Makena Kauhane '19

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Makena Kauhane'19 interned on Capitol Hill for the office of Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) during the 2018 Summer Term.

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Makena Kauhane'19 interned on Capitol Hill for the office of Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) during the 2018 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill for the office of Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). This internship allowed me to apply the knowledge I’ve developed through course work at Dartmouth to a number of legislative areas I had the opportunity to research. As a government major with a concentration in political theory, this internship was especially valuable as it offered me deeper insight into the inner workings of government structure and congressional procedure.

During the internship, I contributed to the day-to-day operations of the office by assisting with administrative tasks such as corresponding with Hawaii constituents, delivering letters and bill markups between offices, collecting signatures, providing general tasks for staff members, and leading tours of the Capitol for Hawaii visitors. Through these administrative responsibilities, I familiarized myself with the duties and procedures required to operate a congressional office. In addition, this internship allowed me to contribute to legislative research on topics that aligned with the Senator’s committees and lead issue areas.

Through my position I was assigned to two issue areas: judicial affairs and Native Hawaiian affairs. Through my work on Native Hawaiian affairs, I did research on the Native Hawaiian homelessness population, land rights, and state language immersion programs. Because the Senator is a member of the Indian Affairs committee, I was able to compare Native Hawaiian issues with those of Native American tribes. Through my work on judicial affairs, I took on a wide range of civil rights issues including free-speech, prison reform, campaign finance law, immigration, and marijuana legislation. Perhaps most significant, I was able to provide staff members with research and memoranda on upcoming judicial nominations including the nomination of Brett Kavanagh to the Supreme Court. Because of the exciting legislation I had the opportunity to engage in, I have developed a strong interest in law and hope to apply to law school in order to more deeply engage in Native Hawaiian and civil rights issues.

I am truly grateful for the experience I had interning on the Hill and appreciate the support I had from those at the Rockefeller Center, the Perkin Bass fund, and the Office of Senator Brian Schatz.

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.

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