This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Ami Ikuenobe, COL ’22
My summer as an intern with the House Judiciary Committee Majority (HJC) was a surreal experience filled with learning, challenges, and opportunities, unlike any intern experience I have previously had.
The HJC has multiple subcommittees and teams, and I had the pleasure of working on the Oversight of the Executive Branch Team with a wonderful and dedicated group of women. I expected my day-to-day tasks to be answering the phone and conducting other administrative work. However, unlike my previous intern experiences, I was pleasantly surprised by the substantive nature of the internship. My job consisted of helping prepare for hearings by reviewing previous transcripts to check for exposure and compile videos, help draft memorandums, and conduct research on an array of topics. Some of the hearings I helped with include a hearing on Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks and an FBI hearing. The workload came in waves, some tides larger than others, but I treated every assignment, every project, and every opportunity as a chance to learn.
Despite being on the Oversight Team, I did have the opportunity to help the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee with several projects- projects that ended up being some of my most challenging workloads. Because I was not a part of this committee, the learning curve for their projects was steep, positively challenging me to produce results in a limited time frame.
It was very common to be expected to learn on the spot or produce results for a topic you know very little or nothing about, especially when preparing for hearings. I looked at it as a learning opportunity, which made the task much more enjoyable. I was genuinely surprised with some of the work that I was assigned because, in my head, I thought “Wow.. they trust me with a project this important.” Nonetheless, this shows how integral of a role interns play in the congressional workforce.
Despite the incredible work opportunities that I had, my favorite part of the internship was connecting with other staff members when everyone was in the office. My immediate supervisor and her colleagues were delightful and made the work environment enjoyable and relaxed. Some of my favorite memories are not of the work that I did but the people I did the work with- whether that was joking around while preparing for a hearing or the mid-afternoon breaks we spent exploring the grounds of the Capitol. It was amazing to see and work in such a historic building and city with an incredible group of individuals.
Looking back on my experience, it was honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I acquired so much knowledge on an array of topics, while attending the congressional hearing, and interacting with experienced lawyers and public servants. The professional advice I received from staff members of the committee is advice that I will remember for the rest of my professional career, and this internship has solidified my desire to be a public servant.