Hometown: Holt, MI

Major: Political Science

Minor: Gender, Race, and Nation

Internship Placement: Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-04)


Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?

I initially learned about Michigan in Washington while researching undergraduate schools in my senior year of high school. I thought the opportunity to intern in DC for an entire academic semester was an amazing chance and was even something I included in my initial application essay to the university (senior year, I was right). As a current student, I chose to apply for the program because I wanted to gain first-hand experience in the heart of the political world. Since high school, I have wanted to run for office and effect change to improve my community and the world around me. I knew that MIW would be the closest opportunity to experience what it's like to work as a legislator while still a student.

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

Every day at my internship brings something new and exciting! Every day, I am expected to take constituent calls, help sort constituent requests by topic on our online database, and prepare the next day's schedule card for the Congressman. At least once a week, I can give a tour of the Capitol building to constituents who are visiting DC, sit in on a briefing for the staff, and draft constituent letters on behalf of the Congressman. On occasion, I will also receive research projects to work on; recently, I was responsible for researching the personal and legislative information of ten members of Congress. In addition to my office work, I have access to exclusive events such as professional development workshops for Hill staff or attending a Congressional Dinner at the Library of Congress as the Congressman's guest. 

What's something that you're proud of that you've done at your internship so far?

In October, our Legislative Assistant went on vacation, and I was asked to sit in on a staffers-only discussion with Czech National Security Advisor Tomas Pojar. Sitting at the briefing, I was allowed to sit at the table directly with Mr. Pojar, his team, and the other staffers in attendance. Being allowed to sit so closely, instead of at the back of the room, was such an amazing experience in and of itself. In addition, whenever I attend briefings, I am responsible for listening to the conversation and using my discretion to produce a one-page memo summarizing the discussion. I am proud that I was asked to attend on his behalf and be responsible for providing the information. 

How has your skillset evolved or changed since you began working on this internship?

"My interpersonal skills have evolved throughout my internship. A huge part of my job involves interacting with others via phone calls, staffing the front desk, or attending events on behalf of the staff. I have grown in my ability to engage professionally in conversation with constituents on tours or with the visitors who come to our office. My ability to take constituent calls has also improved; even though there is a basic script to follow, I must think quickly and represent the Congressman in the best light. Many of the questions I receive are not easy and often involve negative criticism; these conversations require that I respond with respect to both the Congressman and the caller, which is a fine balance that I have learned to maintain every time I take a call."

What is one fun activity that you have done since being in DC?

Since I am currently looking for graduate programs to apply to, I have taken the weekends to explore the schools in the DC area. So far, I have been to George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland; I could visit the admissions office, walk around the campus, sit in the student union, and study a little bit before heading back to the apartment. These adventures have helped me learn more about graduate programs while also letting me explore a new part of DC!

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

Definitely apply! This program has introduced me to some of the most ambitious and hard-working people, who will now be lifelong connections. I am grateful for the mentorship I have received from everyone I have had a chance to meet through the program, events I have attended, and my office! Participating in MIW is a life-changing opportunity to grow your personal and professional skills. I was initially worried about missing out on my senior fall semester on campus. Still, I can say without hesitation that choosing to study in DC was the best decision I've made.