Senator Eric P. Lesser '07 HLS '15, one of the youngest members of the Massachusetts Senate and a Harvard IOP alum, is looking for idealistic, motivated, and highly talented students to serve as intern in his State House office. An internship in the Office of Senator Lesser will give students hands-on experience in areas such as lawmaking, legislative drafting, policy research and analysis, constituent service, correspondence, communications, and office administration. Students will also become familiar with both state and regional issues impacting Western Massachusetts. As one of two Senators representing Springfield, students will also develop an understanding of innovative approaches to regional development and economic growth in a Gateway City. Read the recent profile of Senator Lesser from The Harvard Crimson.
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