As I began my internship in August at the Texas State Capitol I was so nervous because I had no idea what they expected from me there. In my past internships, I gained a wide variety of experience. For example, I have interned with immigration and family law firms. Since my freshman year in college, I had always had an interest in interning at the Texas State Capitol but never got the chance to. But as I entered my junior year in college I got connected with an alumni who works at the Capitol for a Senator for Dallas County. I was surprised to know that a alumni from St. Edwards actually works at the Capitol as the Sectary of State for a Senator. She was able to help me secure an internship at the Capitol this semester. If I had one advice to give while in college to my younger self it is that NETWORKING does work!!!
As I started at the office I had no idea what to expect. My first instinct was that I needed to know everything about policy, and I felt overwhelmed that I didn’t know enough. But that was not the case. My supervisor and the other staff were very welcoming and walked me through the process of the duties and projects I would be working on this semester.
At this point in time, the office is in what they call “Recovery mode” since the session just ended in May. It would have been interesting to get an internship last spring so that I could experience how the capitol and the office runs while in session. But, now I am at a point where I get to see the beginning steps before the next session.
For the past three months that I have been interning, there have been exciting yet challenging times. Since the Senator’s primary focus is North Dallas, that is what the office focuses on. On a daily basis, I do CMS, which is a system that the office uses to submit information of a constituent or any person who has contacted the office. It allows anyone in the office to look for a person in the system if they need to talk to them. Each day when I come into the office, I either already have a project assigned to do or I ask the two analysts if they need assistance. One of the analysts focuses mainly on education while the other works on criminal justice policy. The 2nd week that I was there I was given a research project to investigate a criminal case that is happening in Dallas that has to deal with the death penalty. I was very excited to do this project because my major is Criminal Justice. Right now the analysts and I are trying to produce a memo so that everyone is aware of what is happening with this case. One thing I found interesting and surprising during my time at my internship is how interested I am in education policy. I work closely with the policy analyst to help find ways to help better systems in Texas.
Altogether, I am very grateful to have interned at the Texas State Capitol this semester. So far it has been an exciting challenge. I have gained strong writing skills and confidence. This internship has made me realize how big a responsibility this job is, and how important it is to see what bills need to pass for people to achieve fairness in Texas. It is very important to find a job that you are passionate about and also surround yourself with a positive environment in your future job. The experience I got at this internship will be unforgettable because of the amount of support I get from my co-workers!