My Time Interning & Living on Capitol Hill

Jessica Shoemaker

Jessica Shoemaker discusses her spring internship at the Kluge Center in the Library of Congress.

Student Blog - Jessica Shoemaker

During my final semester at SUNY Brockport, I had the opportunity to participate in the SUNY Washington Internship Program. I would firstly like to thank the program and its director, Robert Powell, for this amazing experience. Thanks to SUNY Brockport and Robert, I was able to spend this spring interning at the Kluge Center, which is a research center in the Library of Congress that brings together scholars from all over the world to write about and research governmental issues, especially those related to democracy.

As an intern at Kluge, I was able to spend my days in the Library of Congress. I assisted two researchers with their projects relating to government functionality. My responsibilities as an intern included using the Library’s vast resources to complete tasks assigned by the researchers. One of my researchers was a Director at the Congressional Research Service (CRS) who focuses on environmental issues, including nuclear waste dumping and governmental cleanups, and the other was an independent researcher studying the United States House Committee on Rules. I was able to attend hearings and witness the Rules Committee members vote on legislation. I was amazed that I was able to work on research that seemed to actually matter. The work I did as an intern at the Kluge Center contributed to something larger than myself, and it was a pleasure getting to work on these projects. I also learned more about my strengths and weaknesses as a researcher and a professional, which is something incredibly valuable that will help me in my career.

Main reading room of the Library of Congress

While interning at the Kluge Center, I was also able to participate in many networking opportunities. The Kluge Center held book talks almost weekly, and interns were encouraged to attend. I also had the privilege of being one of two interns at the Center to attend a Congressional dinner. At the events, interns were encouraged to eat, drink, and speak to as many House and Senate staffers as possible. There is also a brown bag lunch every Wednesday, where interns and scholars alike can get to know one another and create connections. The directors at the Kluge Center do everything possible to create a welcoming and enjoyable environment for the interns.

One of the biggest perks of participating in the program is simply getting the opportunity to spend a semester away from campus in a beautiful new city. Part of the SUNY Washington Internship Program includes spending Fridays as a class. Some of my favorite places we went as a class included the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Archives, the US Supreme Court building, and the US Capitol building. There was also an opportunity for our class to attend a Major League Baseball game at Nationals Park, which remains one of my fondest memories of D.C. There is truly something for everyone in D.C. Whether you like spending your time outdoors walking around the National Mall or eating at some of the very best restaurants the city has to offer, you can find something to do with your free time. The opportunities to make friends are abundant, whether it be with your classmates in the program, fellow interns at your workplace, or your roommates and neighbors.

My time in Washington, D.C. was truly unforgettable and something I will never forget. While I was initially nervous to try something by myself that was so new, I quickly made friends, was doing well at my internship, and was making new plans and goals for my future. As I head to law school this fall, I am confident in my networking skills and my ability to acclimate to a new setting. My time in the SUNY Washington Internship Program has solidified my plans for the future and has allowed for personal and professional growth. I walked away from my internship with new skills, new connections, new friends, and an idea of what city life is like. I could not have asked for more from this experience, and this semester has been a highlight of my academic career.

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Author: Jessica Shoemaker

Posted: October 13, 2023