Olivia Audsley '21 interned at the Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during the 2019 spring term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.
During Spring 2019, I interned at the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Washington, D.C. Senator Gillibrand is the junior senator from New York, serving since 2009. Gillibrand is a progressive democrat that focuses on family issues such as paid leave, and women’s issues such as sexual assault in the military.
In the office, I worked in constituent services, answering phone calls, sorting and responding to mail, and greeting visitors in the office. I was also responsible for giving Capitol Building tours to constituents from New York. Apart from constituent services, I also aided in legislative research. I worked with staff members for whom I would attend briefings and hearings, take notes and then write a memo for them. Above all, I gained a deep respect for our First Amendment right during this internship, as interns were responsible for making sure all the constituents’ comments and questions were carefully recorded and responded to. While it was difficult to deal with at times, I appreciated that the office did its best to respond to constituent concerns and treat the public with respect.
The most positive part of my experience was forming relationships with the staff members in my office. I was able to be on first-name basis with all the staffers and grab coffee with them easily; those relationships produced great contacts and also made my internship much more enjoyable. In fact, the networking opportunities available in D.C. were outstanding and I feel I learned most from talking to my peers and superiors from various backgrounds and skillsets. Lastly, my commute to work each morning passed the Supreme Court and the Capitol building, reminding me each day how lucky I was to be in that city. I was able to see so much of D.C., such as the Smithsonian museums, the Library of Congress, the White House, and many other sites and neighborhoods.
Working with a public policy organization made me realize that I do love working on a federal level and seeing widespread change. From talking with my superiors I learned that people switch back and forth between public and private often. Capitol Hill, while at times seeming stagnant and traditional, is always changing, with new faces and policies every day. Hearing everyone’s college and career stories made me realize that a career in legislation and advocacy is attainable for me. This internship solidified my interest in law school and a career in policy-making. I want to thank the Rockefeller Center for providing me with a grant to pursue my career passions.
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.