Weekly Column: Internships Offer Behind-the-Scenes Look at Capitol Hill
For students interested in a career crafting public policy, an internship in a Senate office can be an excellent opportunity to see firsthand how our federal government functions. My office offers internships year-round in both my Washington, D.C., and South Dakota offices for college students and recent graduates.
Interns have an important job in the overall functioning of a Senate office. They help all our staff do their jobs more efficiently by assisting with legislative research, circulating letters to be signed by other senators and, perhaps most importantly, listening to the folks in South Dakota who call or visit us so they can share their messages directly with me. Interns in each of my offices are oftentimes the first people South Dakotans see when they come to visit, and the individuals answering the phones in our offices.
Interns in the Washington office may work on a number of varying tasks over the course of a day. The life of a Capitol Hill intern is different each day, which gives interns the opportunity to explore various interest areas during their time in our office so they can find what they’re passionate about doing. Some of the jobs in our Washington office may include tracking legislation, researching bills, attending committee hearings and briefings, leading tours of the U.S. Capitol building, handling constituent phone calls, sorting mail and providing legislative support. Additionally, interns in our D.C. office have the opportunity to participate in the Senate Intern Lecture Series, where they can speak with Members of Congress, military leaders and others in top positions of government.
South Dakota office interns also have ample opportunity to assist staff with different jobs, but the duties are more constituent-focused. Our interns in the South Dakota offices will work on researching constituent inquiries and requests, participating in outreach activities, assisting staff on special projects, handling phone calls and constituent requests and sorting mail.
In all offices, students will work closely with constituents and staff, polish their research and writing skills and gain an in-depth understanding of a Senate office. We are able to offer college credit, as well. Most of our interns spend an entire semester working in our offices, and some take evening or online classes to work on their degrees while interning. We are able to offer our Washington interns a stipend to help cover their housing expenses while they are in D.C.
South Dakotans interested in applying for an internship in my office are encouraged to visit my website at www.rounds.senate.gov/internships to learn more about the program. Additionally, feel free to call any of our offices with questions about being an intern. Internships are available in my Washington, D.C., Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City offices.