"I became a much better writer, researcher, and communicator in a very short time working for a congressman."
I interned at Congressman Keith Ellison’s office in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, where I had a wide range of responsibilities. I did a lot of day-to-day administrative work, but also worked with constituents and conducted research for Ellison staffers.
It was a privilege to work for the Congressman, and I learned a lot about politics and democracy from the experience. I’m a geography major and economics minor with an urban studies concentration, so they assigned me to work with financial services and housing. Obviously there was plenty of overlap with my academic interests. We often acted as the intermediary between banks and constituents seeking mortgage modifications or assistance fighting the foreclosure process.
Although I have no plans to enter politics, I became a much better writer, researcher, and communicator in a very short time working for a congressman.
You can learn a lot about government just by attending college in a city that contains both congressional offices and state offices. District offices are located close to both federal offices and local constituents. Policy is a two-way street—it’s influenced from the top down and the bottom up.
One of my favorite parts about working at the Ellison office was the opportunity it provided to learn from many mentors. The most memorable piece of advice I received was this: Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know, but always try to find an answer and follow up.