My Experience in Trinity’s Legislative Internship Program

My Experience in Trinity’s Legislative Internship Program

Connecticut State Capitol

This semester, I am taking part in Trinity’s Legislative Internship Program. This is a full- or part-time program that places students with Connecticut state legislators. I’m doing the program part-time, and I get to spend my days at the Connecticut State Capitol and Legislative Office Building. I applied to the program last semester, and 14 students were given the opportunity to be interns this year, most of whom are majoring in political science or public policy and law. The program is selective, and the application process was somewhat long and a bit stressful, considering that I applied during finals. However, in the end everything worked out, and thanks to Trinity I am gaining unforgettable work experience and learning so much about local and state politics.

The job of an intern at the State Capitol might sound like easy work, since one would assume this is regular office jobs. Sure you have to make copies, file stuff, and do other tasks that might seem tedious,  but there is so much more than that. For starters, as an intern you get see some of the meetings that happen behind closed doors between legislators. You get to attend hearing and forums regarding legislation that directly impacts all state residents. Furthermore, you get to meet so many interesting and nice people that care about the state of Connecticut.

I am currently working for the Senate Majority Leader, Bob Duff. I can truly say that this has been an unforgettable experience. I have seen how Senator Duff meets with people and interacts with the public. In addition, I have learned on how he fights for legislation that he thinks is important. This is legislation that will help the people of Connecticut, as well as towns like Norwalk and Darien, which are the towns within his district. He has definitely taught me a lot about government and how much time and dedication public service requires. Since Connecticut has a part-time state legislature, Senator Duff drives all the way from his district, which can be almost an hour a day with traffic. Every day he comes into the office ready to talk to people that are interested in passing legislation that can help Connecticut.

However, the internship is not done once I step out of the Capitol. As part of the Trinity Legislative Internship program, we have to analyze and study all of the politics that happen within the Connecticut State Capitol. Every Tuesday evening, from 6:30 to 9:00, all of the interns meet for a seminar. We have readings assigned, and we also have to type weekly analytical reports that relate to legislation and or issues that our assigned legislators are facing. Furthermore, we have to give an update on what we did during the week and explain are our current projects within the Capitol.

I would recommend this program to any student who is interested in working in the government or politics. You get an exclusive look at how state government operates, what it takes to create legislation—including what happens behind closed doors and the debates that rage on over specific legislation that you might care about. This of course is great work experience and will give you an edge if you plan to go into this field. For this reason, I urge students interested in politics to apply.

Washington Semester Program Guest Speakers

Washington Semester Program Guest Speakers

A key part of American University’s Washington Semester Program is the guest speakers. Sometimes my class travels downtown to the office of the speaker while other times they travel to American’s campus to speak to us in the classroom. Our speakers range from a partner of the media firm that produced all of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign advertisements, to Republican and Democratic Congressmen, to people from lobbying and advocacy groups in various areas of policy.

The speaker’s organization is usually related to what we are learning about in class. They typically talk about their career and their organization and its mission. Usually the speaker will end by providing their contact information. People in Washington are always looking for the next generation that will be replacing them so they can ensure their goals and messages will persist. Students walk out of these class sessions with a new knowledge about the way Washington works, new career paths not previously known, and specific organizations they can contact to get involved.

I myself have gotten numerous business cards from speakers in organizations I found inspiring. I have also explored new parts of Washington. Such as the bookstore Politics & Prose owned by the class speaker and former speech writer for Hillary Clinton. I have also learned about different ways to get involved and influence policy.

The Washington Semester Program does an excellent job combining experiential learning through internships, traditional learning through seminars and lectures, and career development through guest speakers. I believe I will be leaving this program with growth in so many different areas that I may not have expected, which I am very grateful for!

How I’m Breaking Barriers with My Hockey Internship

How I’m Breaking Barriers with My Hockey Internship

I don’t think there’s ever been a better example of how Trinity gets internships for students than my experience. I currently have an internship with the minor league hockey team downtown called the Wolf Pack. I’m doing PR and Media Relations with them, and though I’ve only been on the job for a few weeks, I’m loving it. But let me start from the beginning and walk you through how I got this amazing opportunity.

I’ve been writing for years and knew I wanted to major in English when coming to college. I loved that Trinity had a creative writing concentration within the English major so I knew I could really pursue what I wanted to do. I’ve also been going to hockey games since I was about seven, starting with the Lowell Lock Monsters, a minor league affiliate of various NHL teams over the years. So it was only natural that I would start writing for Trinity’s newspaper The Tripod my first semester here.

I loved covering for the hockey team and getting my stories in the paper, even if it was just a college newspaper.

Fast forward a year and a half to my sophomore year. I had been writing for the Tripod for almost four semesters and looking for internships.

I wanted to do something in the PR,  Communications, or Marketing field so I looked on the Trinity College Career Development Center website and found internship and job postings. Alums and local businesses, who have hired Trinity students in the past, tend to advertise there. One of the internships listed was with the Wolf Pack, who has different interns each semester, all of them from Trinity (and, unbeknownst to me, all of them male, but we’ll get back to that point in a minute). So I applied for the PR and Media Relations internship. I sent over my writing samples, and I went downtown to the XL Center for an interview. I aced the interview and during this time, my future boss told me that I was the first female to apply (and eventually be hired) for this job. At this point, I was feeling pretty good about myself. It’s a good feeling to achieve something you’ve really wanted, but it feels even better to be the first female to do so and to start breaking down that barrier.

So now, I have this amazing internship this semester where I’m writing game stories, interviewing players, and learning about what it takes to make it in this industry. Not only is my work getting regularly published, it’s an incredible experience and I’m so thankful I am the first woman to do so.

Trin Alums are Everywhere!

Trin Alums are Everywhere!

Last Wednesday, I was attending an education policy event at the National Press Club. After taking the elevator up to the 13th floor, the doors opened up to a magnificent lobby. After checking in, grabbing my name tag, and picking up the event literature, I found my seat. I mingled with my table mates for a few minutes until the warm, inviting aroma of coffee wafted to my nose. I looked at the breakfast table and saw an array of coffee and pastries. Exhausted and hungry at 8 in the morning, I made my way over to the refreshments table. To my surprise, another woman at the refreshment table turned to me and asked, “Did I hear you say you attend Trinity College?”

After confirming that I do attend Trinity, the woman remarked that she was an alumna of Trinity. Turns out the alumna was Catherine Millett, Senior Research Scientist at Policy Evaluation & Research Center, and she was organizing the whole event. I was incredibly surprised to meet an alumna at such a random event. But, as I turned back to the room from the refreshment table I realized that I now knew one person and felt much more confident and comfortable. Catherine and I were able to connect over our love for both Trinity and education policy. After the event, I got a picture with Catherine and sent her an email congratulating her on such a wonderful event, and thanking her for mentioning that she also went to Trinity.

After my last blog was posted on the Trinity College Admissions Instagram, an alum in D.C. commented on the post. Kristin Duquette ’13 works at FEMA right behind the U.S. Department of Education building that I work in. She was interested in connecting and I followed her up on her offer. The next week, Kristin and I met for lunch at the cafeteria of the American Indian Museum near both of our offices. Kristin and I connected over our Trinity experiences and affinity for all things D.C. She emphasized how important it is to speak up for yourself, find things you are passionate about and know that it is okay to not have a plan. Kristin has an extensive resume, and I was honored to get words of wisdom from such an amazing woman.

It is no surprise to anyone that Trinity has such an incredible alumni network. This week, I got to experience it firsthand and meet two wonderful alumni that took time out of their day to speak to me. Trinity alums show up in the most random places and are always willing to create a connection with students and help them in any way they can. At the least, students and alums have the opportunity to bond over their great experiences ‘neath the elms.

“Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.” – John F. Kennedy

“Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.” – John F. Kennedy

Prior to starting my internship in D.C., I had to fill out a questionnaire about myself so the office could get to know me. One of the questions asked what was the coolest place I had traveled to. My answer was Washington D.C. I figured this would seem like I was somehow trying to suck up, but it was entirely the truth. For me, Washington has always been the hub of leadership, dreams, and inspiration, and there is no other place I would rather be.

While many of my friends are either abroad in Europe or at Trinity enjoying the perks of being upperclassmen, I am just down the coast in Washington D.C. For my ‘study abroad,’ I chose to do a Washington Semester Program through American University. When considering different study away options, I came to the conclusion that there was nowhere else I would rather spend a semester away from Trinity than Washington.

Through my program, I take classes two days a week (an American Politics seminar and Political Communication elective) and intern three days a week. When looking for an internship, I knew that I wanted to do something distinctly “D.C.” in order to make the most of my opportunity. I ended up deciding to intern in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA) at the United States Department of Education.There are four interns in my office, and each of us has an area of education policy that is our specialty. I have the pleasure of focusing on higher education policy.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I get to take the metro into the heart of D.C. Because my office is right behind the Air and Space Museum alongside The Mall, I always get a quick peek at the Capitol as I walk there. There is no view that could be more inspiring as I walk into my office.

So far during my internship, I have been able to attend an event at The Brookings Institute, both House and Senate hearings, a briefing, the Department’s Constitution Day celebration event that Secretary DeVos gave the opening remarks at, and met some pretty incredible people.

During my classes, I have gone to a live taping of Meet the Press and met Chuck Todd, walked past Joe Biden just close enough to get a smile, gone to the Newseum, and had guest speakers that range from Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter at one point to a partner at the media firm that created all of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign advertisements.

I have only been in Washington for nearly four and a half weeks, and I’ve already gotten to do so many incredible things, and have the time to do much more. Washington is all about making connections, and I am thrilled to see who I will meet next.

My Summer Before Junior Year

My Summer Before Junior Year

College students are notorious for being balancing acts: school, friends, family, work, downtime, and extracurricular activities. While college summers offer a little more flexibility to the tracks that students often see placed in front of them, a lot of pressure can be placed on how college students spend their time off. I have many friends that spent the summer going into their junior year working 40 hours a week at an internship, or making great amounts of cash babysitting in luxury homes, or some other type of hustle and bustle job in their hometown, or simply relaxing with family. I wanted to push myself to do something a little bit different, and this past summer, I worked on a guest ranch in Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho.

I visited the Diamond D Ranch first in 2008 as a guest with twenty-one of my paternal family members. The remote location and exquisite beauty were unlike any other place I’d been. The Diamond D is an all-inclusive ranch that offers a wide range of activities from hiking, to horseback riding, to guided fly-fishing, and more. After being there for a week as a guest, I knew I wanted to return when I was older as an employee.

I’m proud to say I made that goal happen this past summer. I moved to Idaho for just under three months and spent my summer in the mountains without cell phone service. I had many different responsibilities on the ranch, which always kept me very busy. I worked primarily with three other girls my age in the kitchen: prepping meals, setting tables, serving the food and cleaning dishes. We also cleaned the guests’ rooms and cabins, along with other daily chores like cleaning the pool and managing the upkeep of the lodge building. We led guest activities like arts and crafts, gold panning, and kickball games as well. This job was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever challenged myself to do, and it was extremely rewarding.

Student Spotlight: Kenzie Levy ’18

Student Spotlight: Kenzie Levy ’18

What is it like to be a BuzzFeed intern? 

Being an intern at BuzzFeed is one of the most incredible opportunities that any individual who is looking to enter either the media or tech industries can be fortunate enough to attain. During the internship program, an intern will have a designated manager who he or she will shadow throughout the internship, in addition to various group projects with the other interns within a designated department. No day is exactly the same, but each day will present a different learning experience.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do so far?

In addition to seeing Ken Burns speak, watching MisterWives and ZZ Ward perform, attending a talk between interns and Jonah (BF’s CEO), meeting the fashion director of Saks, and attending both the company and business All Hands meetings, on the first day of my internship, I got to attend the world premiere of the movie Rough Night with my manager and saw ScarJo and Zoe Kravitz from afar. I also got to be featured in a BuzzFeed video… which was pretty awesome. Although these are incredible opportunities that I never would have gotten to experience if I wasn’t accepted into the BuzzFeed Summer Internship Program, my favorite part of working at the company is interacting with the multitude of intelligent and talented individuals who are not only working full-time at the organization, but are also interning beside me. My manager is incredible, and she has made this experience so worthwhile by onboarding me in the realm of Client Services, and fully encouraging me to immerse myself in every opportunity possible. From letting me attend a speaker series with BuzzFeed’s president, to volunteering for me to be in a BuzzFeed video, to inviting me to team lunches and dinners, she has made me feel extremely included and valued. Additionally, my assigned “buddy,” who used to intern at BuzzFeed and now works in the company’s Client Services department, has constantly provided me with insight about the company, and has acted as a supportive sounding board during my short time here. This synthesis of BuzzFeed’s employees’ genuine care combined with additional benefits has made this summer at BuzzFeed one of the best experiences of my life.

How has a school like Trinity helped prepare you for this opportunity? 

I will never forget sitting with twenty-five other interns around a conference table at my internship last summer as everyone went around and introduced themselves and announced where they attended college. After a hearing a series of large schools such as, “University of Michigan,” “Colorado State,” and “University of Florida,” I sheepishly said, “Trinity College… In Hartford, Connecticut.” I am always proud to divulge that I attend Trinity, but I’m also always prepared that people may or may not know where it is, or which Trinity I’m talking about. After stating my school, my fellow interns immediately whipped their heads toward me and said, “Oh my gosh do you know *insert name of Trinity student or alum here*!?” Roughly half of the table knew someone who attended Trinity, which I feel is remarkable given the school’s student population, and speaks to the community and its reputation. What I learned from that summer (and have continued to learn since that moment) was to never underestimate Trinity’s network. When I first started at Trinity, I was a little apprehensive about how I could possibly incorporate my love of media at a liberal arts college that didn’t technically provide the opportunity to major in “Communications” or “Marketing.” However, I turned down multiple communications and media programs to come to Trinity because I knew that the school’s smallness would provide me with the opportunity to build relationships with my professors and classmates. I hoped that I could mold my college experience and curate it towards my interests in a way that would eventually help me to build my resume. This summer at BuzzFeed, my manager has reiterated, “You’re so involved at your school!” As rising senior at Trinity, my advice would be to explore which clubs, classes, and jobs or internships both on and off campus relate to your interests, and don’t be afraid to get involved. If a platform for your passion doesn’t exist on campus, most likely, the school and the student body will support you and allow you to create it.

Do you hope to continue working in a similar field post-graduation? 

Absolutely. Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I have been fascinated by the ways that textual and visual narrative (and combinations of the two types) can both explicitly and subliminally affect human interaction.

What’s your favorite BuzzFeed quiz to take? 

Ohhh good question. I don’t have a specific favorite per say, but anything with baby animals is definitely a good bet.

Student Spotlight: Anastasia Menshikova ’18

Student Spotlight: Anastasia Menshikova ’18

Anastasia Menshikova ’18 is a rising senior with a lot of ambition! Currently, she works with NASA as a Data Science Intern, where she does in-depth analyses of human trafficking data to spot trends and correlations within that data. In our interview, she shares what it’s like to work on something so important.

Hometown: Riga, Latvia

Class year: 2018

Major: Computer Science

Involvement at school: Employee at Trinfo Cafe, Teacher Assistant, former member of Elemental Movement Dance, and Vice President of the Computer Science Club.

What is it like to work at NASA?

So I’m a data science intern for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. And it’s great! It involves a lot of challenging work, but I’m gaining priceless skills both in terms of computer science and general communication. I’m also gaining skills in group work, since I work in a team with other JPL employees. Even though I’m an intern, I am considered a full member of the team and I get to work on real-life projects. All of the work, due to the governmental nature of the place, are aimed at aiding various governmental institutions, and so I actually get to contribute toward helping solve real-life issues, like human trafficking in the US. The fact that my contribution might be helpful in tackling human trafficking is very inspiring and it definitely makes me feel like all of my hard work up to this point has been worth it. Doing coding for school or for your own projects is one thing, working in a team and resolving national issues is another.

What else do you do there?

I do data science/machine learning, and one of my main projects involves improving my previously created sentiment analysis parser, creating improved machine learning models and doing some very in-depth analysis of human trafficking data to spot trends and correlations within the data. It’s all part of a big project called MEMEX which is governed by DARPA. My other project is for the department of homeland security, and it involves detecting technical standards within statements of work and project proposals that get submitted to the department.

What’s the most exciting thing you’ve gotten to do as a result of your internship?

One of the most exciting things for me personally, as I mentioned earlier, is working on something that actually contributes to the betterment of people’s lives (by helping to tackle human trafficking)–but also, because of that, I went to Washington DC for a few days to the DARPA headquarters for a hackathon, that is also aimed at working towards the human trafficking project.

How has this internship helped your career goals?

This internship has definitely helped me to explore different areas of computer science, develop more passion for my major, and actually realize that there are so many incredible things I can work on because of computer science!

Student Spotlight: Michael Zarra ’19

In our interview, Michael Zarra ’19 tells us how Trinity helped him find an internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, what he does there, and what it is like to be one of Trinity’s Catalyst interns! 

Hometown: Cheshire, CT

Class year: Class of 2019

Major: Neuroscience

Involvement at school: Men’s Track, Research, Student Senate, Habitat for Humanity, Theater

How did Trinity help you find your internship at Boston Children’s Hospital? 

I found my internship at Boston Children’s Hospital through Trinity’s Career Link portal. The career development center was integral in helping me reach out to alumni at BCH, and writing a cover letter. I would have been far less successful without their support!

What made you want to intern there? 

I have been interested in healthcare for a long time, but my passion for pediatric neurology developed through my time volunteering at the Institute of Living in Hartford my Freshman year. I knew the chance to work in a children’s hospital with the reputation of BCH, and specifically in the Neurology Department, would be an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and exposure with a population I love.

What is a regular day there like?

I’ve learned there are no regular days in the BCH Quality Improvement Department. There are numerous projects ongoing simultaneously, and many team members from administers to doctors, nurses, and consultants whose ideas all need to be integrated into the patient care process. Most days I have a list of goals for a specific project that I set for myself with the help of my team. There are usually meetings with staff and physicians to incorporate clinical experience into our data analysis. Projects can take years to complete, so it’s a lot about monitoring and fine tweaking to shape the path towards a desired outcome.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far? 

Although there have been many surprises throughout the journey this experience has afforded me, one of the biggest revelations has been seeing what doctors do outside of the clinic. The amount of research, teaching, team building, and barbecues they host was unexpected. I have been fortunate to be able to interview applicants for positions within the QI Neurology Department, and I was very shocked to learn doctors were leaving clinical positions for administrative one because, “it allows them to better help the patients”. That was a perspective I had never considered.

How has being a Catalyst intern shaped your experience?

Being a Catalyst intern has helped in more ways than one. Although I still made the choice to get a second job while in Boston, the Catalyst program has afforded me the ability to live close to my internship. With that comes the ability to dedicate more hours to my internship and augment my experience. Paying for food, rent, and other living expenses has been much less of a burden then it would have been without the stipend that the Catalyst Initiative offered. However most importantly, the ongoing support I receive from the Career Development Center has undoubtedly given me the confidence to sculpt my experience not just into a transformative summer, but has guided the beginning of my career path invigorating me to get going.

Student Spotlight: Hunter Mitchell-Adams ’18

Hunter Mitchell-Adams ’18 has a wide-variety of interests, and he is fully committed to exploring all of them during his time here at Trinity. This summer, he’s interning with the CT Office of the Arts! In our interview, he tells us why he chose to work there, and shares what his experience has been like thus far.  

Hometown: Stratford, CT
Class year: 2018
Major: Urban Studies
Involvement at school: Captain of the swimming and diving team, president of the Food Recovery Network, arts editor of The Beacon Newsmagazine, and a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

What is your internship?

The CT Office of the Arts initiated a new intern program called the Arts Workforce Initiative, which placed me in Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County. The mission of this nonprofit is to instill the mentality that the idea of upward mobility is possible for our kids participating in the program. They don’t have to be stuck in the downward spiral of being an intercity student. There is possibility of growth. We’re achieving this by introducing Arts Education into their lives.

What are your responsibilities as an intern?

I have administrative duties, I partake in fundraising, teaching, and maintenance of the program, and programming.

What made you want to do an internship in the arts?

I’ve always been interested in the arts. It was a passion of mine before college, but in high school I wasn’t able to pursue it. Now that I’m in college, I have the time to dedicate myself to this passion of mine and I’m so lucky that I have the ability to go to a job every day in a field that I know that I’ve loved for a while.

What has been the highlight of your internship so far?

The second day there, I helped prepare the auditorium for a concert that was signifying the end of the school year term for a group of students. I was able to watch 20 to 25 students in this auditorium playing African Drums, dance and just have an all around great time. All of them were disabled, mentally or physically, and were able to come together through music to show so how something as simple as dancing can make everyone smile. It really stuck with me, and solidified my enjoyment with this internship. I knew I was there for a reason, to make as much of an impact on these kids lives as they already have for me.

You aren’t pursuing an education career, so what made you choose an internship with children?

I’ve been teaching kids how to swim since I was sixteen, and I still do at Trinity. When I was younger, I always looked for someone who could help me move onto a greater path – having an extra voice to help a student grow is extremely important. If I can help even one student find their own path, that’s something I’d be incredibly proud to do.