This summer I had the wonderful experience of interning in the Capital Region Office of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. I am a rising junior at Skidmore. I am a political science and theater double major, and Vice President of the campus club VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood. I am interested in pursuing a career in public service, particularly as it pertains to women’s rights and reproductive justice. Not surprisingly, those interests combined with my internship have made for a highly rewarding summer.
As an intern in the Capital Region office, I had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of how a Senator’s regional office operates and what responsibilities a Senator and those who work for her have. For example, before starting the internship I was not aware that Senators assist constituents with troubles they may be having pertaining to federal agencies, such as veteran’s affairs or social security. I had the opportunity to assist in constituent matters, and always found those conversations to be very enlightening. They opened my eyes as to how National legislation affects New Yorkers on a day-to-day basis. With that in mind, even mundane office tasks were fulfilling because they assisted an office that exists to listen to people and help them.
My experience this summer has been invaluable and has really motivated me to continue to pursue a career in public service. I was able to work in the office of a woman whom I have admired for a long time, and with wonderful people who are incredibly smart and passionate about the work that they do. My advice to other Skidmore students who are searching for summer opportunities would be to first figure out where your interests lie, and then involve yourself with those things on campus. Being a member of VOX has been a huge part of my time at Skidmore and has really shaped how I approach my academics. Over the course of two years I have become very passionate about reproductive justice and the political rhetoric that surrounds health clinics like Planned Parenthood. Since I want to be a woman in politics, it is important to me that I learn from women in politics. Senator Gillibrand is not only that, but she is also a fierce advocate for reproductive freedoms, making interning in her office a dream opportunity for me. That brings me to my second piece of advice for Skidmore students: apply for the internships that sound too good to actually get. You never know, maybe you will get to intern for your favorite United States Senator. And finally, use your professors as a resource. They can be really helpful in making connections, finding opportunities, and even just figuring out what internships are out there.
My summer experience was made possible by the generous funding from the Student Government Association’s Responsible Citizenship Award, and I would encourage any Skidmore student who is looking into a summer internship to apply for funding through the Career Development Center. It definitely made the logistics of living on campus and commuting to Albany throughout the week much easier. Thank you to the CDC for their help, Professors Graney and Turner in the Political Science Department for their guidance, and to Caitlin Rooney, Anika Verma, Florencia Feleder and Senator Gillibrand for a wonderful summer.