In the summer 2017, this Director's Internship placement is also part of the Schaeffer Fellows program. Read more about that program here.
A Director's Internship in the office of U.S. Senator Shaheen is an excellent way to learn firsthand how our government works, and to play an important role in a U.S. Senate office. Students will have the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and experience by assisting the Senator's professional staff with administrative tasks and press.
Legislative and correspondence duties. The Director's Intern will be able to observe the inner workings of the federal government. Working with the Washington staff gives students a chance to see how the Senate functions, and how it interacts with the other branches of government. Additionally, interns are encouraged to take advantage of everything Capitol Hill has to offer, including listening to floor debate, attending congressional hearings, seminars and speeches, utilizing Senate research facilities, and visiting Washington's museums. The Director's Intern will be required to participate in a broad range of office operations, ensuring a well-rounded experience.
2014 Intern Reflection:
There is something thrilling about confidently striding down the halls of the nation’s capital, finally knowing where you are going, realizing as you reach to press the button for a staff-only elevator, that you work here, that you are a part of the action. That man you whizzed by just five seconds ago and maybe quite nearly cut off his path? That was John McCain. Welcome to Washington, DC. Welcome to working in the Senate.
Working for Senator Shaheen has been unforgettable, to say the least. Though certain situations no longer make my heart pound, as they previously did (and for that I am grateful), this office has given me more than I could ever imagine. My internship keeps me on my toes and I’m fortunate to have direction when necessary but a great deal of room for exploration on my end as well. I am encouraged to talk to and help legislative aides, find hearings and briefings to attend and write memos on, and explore all that the Senate has to offer. With long but flexible hours, I feel that I am able to simultaneously experience a legitimate work week in the office while getting a chance to take in a great deal of the incredible city that is Washington, DC.
Even when I’m not snatching up exciting policy jobs wherever I can, working my shifts on the front desk is great fun. It’s a job that leads you into anything: from talking to one of our many passionate constituents to meeting ambassadors, organization leaders, and other interns. I love seeing the “behind the scenes action” that our legislative correspondents and assistants carry out every day. I am proud to say I have grown from a girl unable to transfer a call or sort the mail into a memo-writing, cloakroom running, tour guiding, intern who is more passionate about and engaged in the running of the country every day. This internship has been a blessing for me that has been a true extension of the best parts of college: what I have known myself to love, I have ended up loving and caring about more – and what I did not know much about, I have found a deep fondness for.
Kara Lessin '16
2013 Intern Reflection:
During the second day of my internship in the office of Senator Shaheen, my coordinator handed me a folder and said: “Here, bring this to the Cloak Room.” Having never heard of the Cloak Room, I began my first solitary venture into the winding tunnels beneath the Capitol desperately searching for something I had no idea how to find. However, as I boarded the underground subway and wandered through the crowded hallways of the Senate, my confusion was replaced by an overwhelming gratitude for the opportunity I had been given. Stunned, I walked past Senators chatting near elevators, reporters lining the walls, and plenty of interns sharing my expression of fear and excitement.
Although my journey to the Cloak Room ended when I managed to find its hidden entryway, the feeling that I was participating in something amazing stayed throughout my time in D.C. My responsibilities taught me how to listen carefully at hearings, efficiently write memos, and draft letters to constituents. Before I left, I even had the chance to work on projects in particular areas that interest me, like healthcare and international relations. But my standard schedule was broken up by irreplaceable experiences like the one I had finding the Cloak Room: rushing to complete time sensitive research, watching Senator Shaheen fight for an amendment that would dramatically change the military’s response to sexual assault, and seeing Ray Allen and Vice President Joe Biden in the lobby of the building are some memories I’ll never forget. Most importantly—thanks to the Senator’s thoughtfulness, as well as her helpful and considerate staff—I left D.C. with an understanding of Washington that would otherwise be impossible to gain, coming only from a glimpse at the realities of life on the Hill.
Mia Sobin ‘16
2012 Director's Intern Reflection:
The nine weeks that I spent working in the office of New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen challenged, fulfilled, and inspired me. The internship offered an unparalleled opportunity to learn about legislation, as I drafted letters on range of bills and proposals, wrote memos on the testimony given in hearings and briefings by some of the nation’s foremost policy experts, and listened to the views and concerns of Granite Staters. I explored my interests in the environment and national security by attending nearly every hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which the Senator served, and by researching national defense legislation. An assignment to draft a letter on the use of biofuels in the military even enabled me to combine these two interests. Another of my most engaging projects was to scan the Internet every morning for relevant news stories and compiles these for the press team. Furthermore, I worked as a receptionist at the front desk and ran errands to the Capitol, a task that often enabled me to run into Senators!
The experience reshaped my view of government. Only when I worked in the environment of Capitol Hill could I more fully understand how complex the decision-making process in Congress is. I watched the Senator and her staff balance the need to fully consider all sides of a problem with the imperative to take a clear stance given multiple deadlines and high pressure. Furthermore, I learned to write more concisely, listen more closely, and think more precisely. Interning for Senator Shaheen was an exciting and rewarding way to see firsthand the challenges, the potential, and the impact of public service in the field of government.
Florence Chen '15
2011 Director's Intern Reflection:
I am extremely grateful to have spent a wonderful 10 weeks in Hart Senate Office Building 520, home of Senator Shaheen, her hardworking staff and, of course, the summer interns of 2011. It was an invaluable way to experience firsthand what government can actually look and feel like, and I certainly came away from the summer with a better understanding of what our legislative process entails.
The intern program is something that is very important to Senator Shaheen and her whole office, and they make a concerted effort to ensure that interns are able to interact with all levels of the staff as well as the Senator herself and experience as much of what the Hill has to offer as possible.
Your actual tasks will range from answering phones to attending briefings all the way up to shadowing the Senator for a day – and everything in between. Providing every detail of these – educational and interesting, to be sure – tasks would not, however, be the most accurate description of what you will experience as a summer intern in Senator Shaheen's office. Being in D.C., at the center of the issues that you hear about every day on the news, getting an up close and practical look at our legislative process, talking with the diverse and friendly staff, running into important politicians in the hallways and elevators, wandering the labyrinth of the Capitol and the Congressional offices – these are the experiences that, I think, are impossible to find elsewhere and that have stayed with me most as I look back on the summer. I am not aware of any better way that I could have gained the perspective I now have on the aspects of our government that I went into this internship hoping to learn more about.
Averill Cantwell `13