***FINALIST APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: All applicants are required to submit a resume (one page), statement of interest (one page), and two references by the application deadline on Sunday, February 7 at 11:59pm ET. If selected as a finalist, applicants to this host organization may be required to submit the following additional materials directly to the host organization after the application deadline:
- Letter of Recommendation
- Writing Sample
LOCATION: Boston, MA
INDUSTRY: Federal / State / Local Government
ABOUT US: We are a Massachusetts Senate office working on state-level legislation. Work includes policy, communications, constituent services, and many other facets of state government.
ABOUT SENATOR LESSER: Senator Eric P. Lesser '07 HLS '15 is one of the youngest members of the Massachusetts Senate and a Harvard IOP alum. Read the profile of Senator Lesser from The Harvard Crimson.
RESPONSIBILITIES & PROJECTS: A Director's intern is assigned any and all tasks typically expected of a Legislative Aide in a state Senate office. The bulk of this work includes policy research and analysis, legislative drafting and tracking, and staffing and observing formal sessions, legislative hearings, briefings, and other events in the State House.
REMOTE WORK ENVIRONMENT: Our office operates remotely on a combination of Zoom, Teams, email, calls, and texts with our team and others. We hold a 9AM virtual Zoom meeting daily and expect updates from staff and interns on a regular basis. We also host a 4PM Friday Zoom social hour for our staff and senator each week.
TIME ZONE: ET
WORKING HOURS: The intern needs to keep the same business hours as our office.
EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE: Access to high-speed Wi-Fi, Personal laptop, Smart Phone, Web Camera, Microsoft Office (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
2020 Intern Reflection:
I have thoroughly enjoyed interning virtually for Senator Lesser this summer. As previous interns have noted, this office is a special place, and this internship is unlike most others. Over the past number of weeks, I’ve had a front-row seat to the legislative process, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in projects that lead to tangible change, and I’ve been supported every step of the way by an incredible team of passionate and committed public servants.
In this internship, you won’t just be pushing papers all day. Senator Lesser and the team make a point of exposing their interns to work that matters—and all kinds of it. Much of my day-to-day involves responding to constituent emails, attending briefings on all sorts of topics, and assisting the Legislative Director and the Communications Director in their work. Many other projects have come up along the way: I’ve had the chance to draft memos that inform policy decisions, emails to constituents that break down complex issues, and press releases that end up in area newspapers. It has been especially meaningful to be involved in legislation related to COVID-19 and economic recovery.
I was told early on that the office would feel much like a startup, and that’s a great way to describe the work environment here. It’s friendly and collaborative, and the team is as down to earth as it is dedicated. From the very first day, Senator Lesser and his staff made sure I felt welcome and a part of the team—and despite the virtual setting, it didn’t take long for me to feel like I fit right in. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more fulfilling introduction to government and public service.
-Matt Jelen '21
2019 Intern Reflection:
Everyday, as I commuted on the T, I was excited to return to Senator Lesser's State House office. The entire team -- interns included -- works together to serve the Senator's constituents and to effect tangible progressive change. The Senator and his staff go out of their way to field my questions and include myself and other interns in office meetings, even asking our opinions on policy or press strategy. Unlike some internships you may find in D.C., every opportunity I've had to work with the Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, or Communications Director has improved my skills and felt important to the office.
Whether drafting policy testimony that the Senator submits to committees or attending hearings and briefings on wide-ranging topics, no two days were exactly alike. Working with the Senator’s team isn’t detached or authoritative; every interaction is collaborative. The Senator and his staff are young, energetic, entertaining, and inspiring. After a couple days in the office, I worked with the Chief of Staff to determine a summer-long independent research project relevant to my own interests and the Senator’s policy objectives. This project developed my policy research skills, increased my comprehension of legalese, and created an extensive writing sample for future internships and jobs. While plenty of opportunities exist to speak with stakeholders at every level of government, the small and personally impactful interactions with constituents at each stage of the legislative process ground this internship in the Senator’s unique constituency.
-Noah Secondo '22
2018 Intern Reflection:
Working at Senator Eric Lesser’s Office has been the best internship I have ever had. Through this experience, I wanted to be able to understand what it was like to work in the government, and specifically in the legislative branch, but I was wary of going to work in DC, where it was likely that I would not be trusted to do substantive work apart, or where I would be frustrated by the gridlock in Washington. This, among many other reasons, was why I applied to work at Senator Lesser’s office, because previous interns had raved about how they had the opportunity to learn directly from the staff and from the Senator, and moreover, to do work crucial to the workings of the office and directly benefiting his constituents. I can confirm that I have obtained exactly that through this internship.
Every day I go to the office I feel so grateful to be around Senator Lesser’s staff members, who make me excited about being in public service and grateful there are people like them looking out for the citizens of the state of Massachusetts. In the day to day, I have the opportunity to complete memos and attend hearings for the Chief of Staff pertaining to bills and policy initiatives the Senator is working on, such as in economic development in Western Massachusetts; assist the Legislative Director in prepping the Senator for session by putting together the binder he uses to keep track of legislation; help the Communications Director with special projects, like researching the history of women in Springfield for an article; and, of course, answer the important work of constituent calls and correspondence.
Apart from the work I complete at the office, I take part in the legislative intern sessions the State House holds, where officials from all branches of government speak about their careers and answer questions from students. Through the program, I have been able to learn more about the legislative priorities of other state senators, representatives, and of the Governor’s office and different agencies, as well as have the opportunity to network with the speakers and their staff. To say the least, every aspect of working at the Senator’s office has been rewarding, from understanding the intricacies of legislation in one of the most exciting state legislatures in the country, to having the honor of working with his incredible team and working for an inspirational individual such as himself.
-Vanessa Ruales '20
2017 Intern Reflection:
In Senator Lesser's office, I am treated like any other staffer, given responsibilities and tasks beyond what I have ever had in any other internship. During my time here, I have written testimony for bills that the Senator submits to committees, given analysis and recommendations on how the Senator should vote on bills, written press releases and op-eds for local politicians, and researched issues such as affordable housing policy, student loan debt, and prescription drug costs. In addition, I am the first line of communication within the Office, redirecting calls, writing letters of congratulations and thanks to constituents, and greeting people who visit the Office.
On top of the trust that the Office places on me to contribute to their work, the Senator himself often asks me for suggestions and recommendations. During Office meetings, he frequently will turn to me and the other intern and ask, "Well, what do you guys think?" I have shared my thoughts on everything from expungement policy for marijuana offenses to the best message to present during a speech to young business leaders. The Senator is committed to making the internship a meaningful one, and he has surrounded himself with a fantastic staff that shares his motivation to engage his interns and develop them to their greatest potential.
-Reed Shafer-Ray '18