Making the Most of DC

Sabrina Barajas interned with Congresswoman Robin Kelly in Spring 2021. Rep. Kelly is Sabrina’s hometown representative, so she had a unique opportunity to learn about constituents and policymaking back home.

I remember reading my acceptance email that I had the opportunity to have an internship in our nation’s capital. I was so excited and wanted to leave right away! It was my first time visiting the east coast and I was determined to make it a memorable experience.

It was pretty stressful finding an internship soon after my acceptance. I spent the majority of the summer scrolling and applying to multiple internships within Congress, think tanks, and non profit organizations. I recommend having Andrea or Sarah to look over your resume and cover letters to better prepare you for job interviews and make sure everything is perfect. If it weren’t for them, I would not have had the high confidence every time I submitted a job application.

Luckily, I got a call to interview for an internship for Congresswoman Robin Kelly. I took all the helpful tools and tricks from what I’ve learned so far in my internship classes in DC to nail the interview. I was excited to work in Kelly’s office because she is my very own congresswoman back home so I was familiar with most of her work. The only downside of this internship was that it was completely virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions and I had to work from home. Soon, I made it work in my favor and chose to see the positive side of it as I could work virtually from anywhere around the city as I went exploring.

Interning for a congresswoman is an exciting experience everyday. My main job as an intern was to answer constituent calls, attend meetings while taking notes, and respond to letters from people in her district who were concerned about a certain issue. As an intern, it is your responsibility to represent the congresswoman and her staff to the best of your ability throughout your work. I met some wonderful people on her team and even formed personal friendships with the other interns who were working for her.

One of the most remarkable moments that I will remember from this experience is a project that I had worked on with the other interns throughout my time here. We had to create a bill that we would like the congresswoman to support and pass. We learned about the policy making process more in depth than ever before. We presented it in front of the congresswoman herself and she acknowledged all the hard work that went into it.

Washington D.C is a small and big city at the same time. You possibly can’t do all the tourist attractions all in one day but it’s almost impossible to not run into someone from all the networking events that you have attended. My favorite parts of this trip were the free museums and the transition of the seasons as I entered in late summer and plan to leave during the winter. It was beautiful to see the monuments that I’ve always seen in tv shows and movies and experience it nearly everyday as I go on my daily walks throughout the city. I’m grateful for this experience and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.