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Name: Emily Crabtree
Hometown: Livonia, Michigan
Major: Political Science and History
Internship placement: Office of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
Why did you decide to do Michigan in Washington?
The appeal of the MIW program was one of the reasons I applied to the University of Michigan. I have always known that I want to work on the Hill, but without experience, it is much harder to get a job after graduation. Michigan in Washington gave me opportunity to obtain that work experience and see how I fit on the Hill. Being in Washington, D.C. is the greatest career preparation that I have had since starting college. The MIW program is teaching me how to network and build connections, which is going to be very helpful in the future. Most importantly I am learning that I love working in D.C., and I know where I want to go with my education and career in the future.
What do you do during a typical day at your internship?
The great part about being an intern in the House is that I get a chance to try everything. Every morning, I compile news and media clips for the office. I answer phone calls and listen to the concerns of constituents, and I greet visitors and guests when they arrive for meetings. I normally attend about two to four briefings each week, and I write memos for the relevant staffers. In between phone calls and meetings, I take on research projects and draft letters for constituents. I am often in the Capitol delivering paperwork, attending briefings, and preparing myself to give tours in the spring.
Which elective are you taking and what’s the most interesting part of the class?
I am taking the Politics of Persuasion with Dr. Menna Demessie. This class revolves around political opinion and advocacy, so we often discuss how this changes over time with the growth of social movements and advancement of technology. The most interesting part of this class is our group discussion. You would be surprised how quickly three hours flies by when the class is discussing the readings and current events. Dr. Demessie is a phenomenal professor, and she always finds new ways to keep us engaged. We have had guest speakers talk with us, we attended an event for the Congressional Black Caucus, and we played Jeopardy to review our readings. The work feels meaningful, and the class is a lot of fun.
What do you like to do in D.C. during your free time?
I could spend all day at the Tidal Basin, but I try to see something new every weekend. As a history major, Mount Vernon was really interesting, and I love visiting the Smithsonian, such as the Museum of African American History and the National Portrait Gallery. The Kennedy Center is another great way to explore the art in DC, but if you’re looking for something less formal, the Rock and Roll Hotel is an inexpensive concert venue for small bands, and I highly recommend it. For a quieter outing, the United States Botanic Garden and Meridian Park are both beautiful, and spending a day in Georgetown by the waterfront is really amazing.
What’s something on your D.C. bucket list?
For the longest time, I wanted to visit the House floor, and luckily, my supervisor took me there in February. Now, I am just trying to see as much of DC as I can. I want to go to Busboys and Poets, the Newseum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. I will probably use some of my cultural enrichment fund to see a show at Ford’s Theatre or the Lincoln Theatre.
What advice would you give to a student interested in Michigan in Washington?
The best advice that I can give is that you should consider why you want to be in this program and how will this will help you with your academic and professional goals. I want to work on the Hill after graduation, so I was ready to work full-time, network, and take difficult classes. In addition, I knew that I was going to miss my family and friends for four months. As much as it can be challenging, it is also very rewarding because I know what I am gaining from being here. Take your time to figure out what it is you want from DC, and let that inform whether or not you apply and which internships you apply to. This really makes all the difference.