We have completed the third week of the internship and I have now gained the confidence to excel in this program. You only have a brief idea what to expect from the internship, but I was certainly not expecting the number of opportunities I have received so far.
I am very grateful to be in such a welcoming office with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, representing Texas’ 16th district. This week was out of session for the House of Representatives, which meant that the members go back to their district. This decreased the workload and eased the pressure. However, there was still plenty on the agenda. In the office I had daily tasks such as taking phone calls, checking voicemails, booking White House and Capitol tours for our constituents, and writing form letters about bills and issues.
During the week I went to Senator Bernie Sanders speech about the working class. It was a great opportunity to hear his perspective on certain issues and to also take notes on public speaking and how to engage an audience. His voice projected far and had the audience on the edges of their seat. It is interesting just to see how different Australian and US politics truly are when issues are broken down like this.
At the end of the week, as part of the program we were invited to a lobbyist firm, Subject Matter and later, the Australian Embassy. Firstly, Subject Matter displayed a good introduction to government work in the private sector and the speakers were able to make a good comparison to the public sector. Secondly, the Australian Embassy held a briefing where the speakers helped us narrow down what we want to get out of our internship and the career path we want to follow when returning home.
So far, this internship has had a lot of exciting challenges and opportunities, and I am looking forward to developing my research paper for the Washington Internship Program. While still working out the complexities of my paper, I do know I will be writing about immigration and border security, a contentious issue important to my congressional office. This will unlock my networking skills by branching out to other offices and writing the paper in a bipartisan way. This internship is only getting started. Who knows what is around the corner.
Louis Polkinghorne with Congresswoman Veronica Escobar outside The Capitol
Left to Right 2023 Interns and Don DeBats:
Elian Rasekhi, Caitlin Driscoll, Zoe Johnston, Louis Polkinghorne,
Bridget Black, Nicholas Pidd, Professor Don DeBats