Michigan in Washington Student of the Week: Arsha Reddy Venkat

Name: Arsha Reddy Venkat

Hometown: Mahopac, NY

Major: Political Science

Internship placement: Office of Senator Schumer and Office of Democratic Policy and Communications Committee

Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

I applied to Michigan in Washington because I am a person who gets comfortable in a place and doesn’t usually think to leave. However, that is no way to live life and I push myself to take risks and to gain new experiences. I’m from a small town in New York and if left alone I would have stuck there for my whole life, but I knew that I needed to learn more about America to be the best citizen I could. I loved my time at the University of Michigan, but I started to get that comfortable feeling again and knew it was time to throw myself into a new environment, so I applied to Michigan in Washington to go to a new place and meet new people.

What do you do during a typical day at your internship?

Working two different internships at the same time has presented unique challenges - including describing a typical day! In Senator Schumer’s office, I primarily take calls from constituents and run errands for the legislative staff such as getting signatures for letters. I enjoy this role because I feel connected to the issues and how the American people feel about those issues. I work with a large group of interns and we often debate the issues amongst ourselves. In the DPCC office, I update and manage a database of oversight letters from the Senate Democratic Caucus to the executive branch in order to keep records of all interactions between the Caucus and the current administration. Occasionally, a few other odd jobs come my way in the DPCC office such as other databases to keep up and other issues to flag for the committee to review.

Which elective are you taking and what’s the most interesting part of the class?

The elective I chose was Campaigns and Elections by Professor Ken Goldstein. Professor Goldstein teaches at the University of San Francisco but completed his master’s degree at Michigan. One of the things I enjoy about the course is the use of predictive models created out of certain parameters. As a pre-medical student, I have never made or used predictive models before, but this class has started a new interest in me.

What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?

Washington D.C. is known for its many museums which I enjoy - a long-standing favorite of mine has been the Air and Space Museum. The city also has a long history of cultural exchange and in that tradition, I have greatly enjoyed attending cultural festivals and cultural events. My roommate is a former ballerina and she taught me about the art form at a ballet we attended at the Kennedy Center. Lastly, food is one of my great passions and Washington D.C. has a great collection of high-end restaurants I’ve enjoyed eating at.

What’s something on your D.C. bucket list?

Working for the Senate minority leader I’ve blown through quite a few of my D.C. bucket list items including stepping foot on the Senate floor and taking a tour of the Capitol building’s dome. One of my remaining bucket list items that I haven’t hit yet is to meet a United States Senator.

What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington? 

To a student interested in Michigan in Washington, I would say go for it! It’s a new environment in a new city and against popular opinion, it's not politics all the time. There are amazing opportunities in a wide variety of fields and so many new things to learn and people to meet.