By Congressman Michael Turner
As young people move through their educational careers and attempt to find their path in life, it is important that they gather as many different experiences as possible. One outstanding way for students to gather experience is to take part in internships. My offices in Dayton, Wilmington, and Washington, D.C, provide an enjoyable and educational opportunity for the many students that serve as interns.
The interns that serve in my offices, and many other offices on Capitol Hill and in Washington, are generally college-age students looking to gain workplace experience and public service. An internship is a unique opportunity for a young student to immerse themselves in a Congressional environment. The number of interns serving at any one time varies by number of applicants and office needs. Many students receive course credit from their university.
Interns serve many functions within the office. In the Washington office, their tasks range from sorting the mail and answering phone calls to giving tours of the Capitol and conducting research with full-time staff. Often they develop interests in one or more issues and will use their newly found knowledge to write end-of-semester research papers for their college classes.
Internships in a Washington, D.C. congressional office provide tremendous learning opportunities. Over the course of their internship, a student may be able to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court, Congressional hearings on topical issues, and lectures given by world renowned scholars and statesmen. In addition to academic pursuits, they also have a chance to experience the cultural side of our nation’s capital by visiting many of the free Smithsonian Museums.
Internships in my Dayton and Wilmington offices are also of tremendous value. Here, students will have the opportunity to provide direct assistance to constituents of the Third Congressional District. In addition to routine administrative tasks, students will learn how best to help constituents who are seeking assistance from my office.
There are a number of ways to apply for an internship. One is to apply through my website at http://www.house.gov/miketurner/internships.shtml and to download the application. The website will provide interested students with details about everything that must accompany their application. Students applying for an internship should also expect an interview to be part of the process.
Another way to become an intern in Washington is through one of the many national internship programs available to students. One example is the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (www.twc.edu). This program provides not only an internship but also housing and academic courses, in addition to the credit for their work. Once a student is accepted to the program, The Washington Center circulates the student’s application to various offices. These applications are reviewed using the same process as those students who apply directly to our office.
There is no deadline for the application, but I encourage those interested in serving as interns to submit applications as soon as possible. We consider interns for the fall, spring and summer semesters.
Upon completion of their internship, interns either return to their colleges with new skills, contacts and experiences, or they land full-time jobs. In fact, many staffers on Capitol Hill, and several members of my staff, began their careers in public service as an intern. Whichever path they choose, these bright young people leave their internships better informed and with a more complete understanding of public service. I enjoy meeting these energetic students, and would encourage any student to consider public service through an internship.