I received news that I had secured my summer internship less than a month before I moved down to Washington, D.C. I had no idea what to expect. I was living in an unknown place with strangers, navigating a city that I’d only visited twice before, and preparing to face the leviathan of the United States Congress.
Looking back, taking this internship was the best way I could’ve possibly spent my summer. Most other jobs for which I had applied had nothing to do with politics, and I’m glad I wasn’t hired for any of them.
Working for Rep. Dingell was the experience of a lifetime. Her energy and dedication to her constituents is inspiring and her commitment to bipartisanship has been a healthy breath of fresh air amidst the party wars in the halls of Congress. Her staff was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, welcoming, and felt like family.
As interns, we were encouraged to attend myriad speaker events, briefings about issues that piqued our interests, and intern networking events. Four of us sat at one small round table. We shared three ethernet cables between four laptop computers. Whomever was not working online had to relinquish their connectivity for those who were. This quickly built rapport between us as we made levity out of the situation, as without some camaraderie we would’ve strangled each other with network cables.
I was incredibly fortunate also to have the opportunity to work in Rep. Dingell’s district office. Driving the Congresswoman to her various appointments afforded me the chance to get to know my home turf of Southeast Michigan even better, traveling from Dearborn to downriver and Detroit and back on a daily basis. I got a glimpse into the life of a US Representative, and had the chance to experience the drama of a congressional district office as they handled some particularly nasty harassment by constituents.
The challenge of living on a budget was a daunting one, but one I embraced and from which I learned a great deal. I am infinitely grateful to the LSA Opportunity Hub for helping me secure funding for my internship, without which I could not have had this life changing experience.
Some other highlights from my summer included: nearly meeting Mariska Hargitay; coming up with creative ways to answer the question, “is this your son?” when introduced to people by Mrs. Dingell; working on Mrs. Dingell’s “Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers” bill; meeting Congressman John Conyers; being photographed with Senator Bernie Sanders; meeting 91 year old former Congressman John Dingell and him remembering my name.
If I have failed to sufficiently communicate my excitement in my writing, here are a few photos that may be more effective.