Learning How to Intern D.C. Style

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Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Internships are an opportunity to experience what life and work will be like once students have completed all their courses, have those degrees in hand and are beginning their careers. For two WTAMU students, this means getting an inside look on how things work in Washington, D.C.  The two students are interning in the Office of U.S. Representative, Mac Thornberry.

Gus Trujillo and Brandy Roberts are both senior Business Management majors who have the chance to experience what it is like in the administrative, legislative and communication branches of Thornberry’s office during their internships.

Roberts said although it has been somewhat difficult adjusting to D.C., the entire experience has been full of learning new things.

“I have learned how to be alone and how to motivate myself,” Roberts said. “Other than the other interns here from WT, I don’t really know anyone here in D.C., so I have had to learn how to make new friends in a big city, and how to be alone and be okay with that.”

Roberts said she has also had to learn how to motivate herself, since the internship is unpaid.

“I have had to find other reasons to get out of bed in the morning,” Roberts said. “I tell myself things like ‘you will learn so much today’ or ‘if you do stay home, you will miss out.’”

Dr. Jessica Mallard, who helped spark the idea of interning in D.C. for Roberts, said one of the best things for students who intern in areas such as DC is being able to experience life in a different place than what they are used to.

“Going there for a whole semester and living there gives you a whole different outlook,” Mallard said. “It’s almost like a different country, really, from where we are, so I think one of the best aspects is just that prolonged emersion in a different community.”

The two interns are thankful for the chance they are getting and both hope that it will lead them to greater opportunities in the future.

“It’s not every day that a student is able to obtain real world experience by working alongside important political figures, but I’ve been able to just do that,” Trujillo said.

Roberts said she is gaining a greater knowledge of professional networking and gaining a greater appreciation for government officials and politics in general.

“This internship is giving me a behind-the-scenes view of the congressional process and there is much more to it than I thought,” Roberts said. “I have such a greater appreciation for Congressman Mac Thornberry and his office, because I know what they do on a day to day basis, and sometimes, it isn’t easy.”

Trujillo hopes the internship will help him get closer to his goals for his future career.

“I plan to run for Congress in the future and I hope to gain some unique real world experience that will help me launch that political career,” Trujillo said. “I expect to learn as much as I can about the legislative process that is involved in Congress and our government in general.”

According to Mallard, the best way to go about finding out information about internships is to contact Career Services.

“There are some really cool opportunities in the summer where you could go away to California and intern, or we have the DC internships, which are a whole semester,” Mallard said.

When students register with Career Services, they can be specific on what areas they are interested in and Career Services will email students opportunities as they go along. This can eliminate some frustration when it comes to searching for the right internship.