Gabrielle - Uni-Capitol Washington Internship
UNI-CAPITOL WASHINGTON INTERNSHIP 2019
At the beginning of 2019, I participated in the final year of the Uni-Capitol Internship Program. This opportunity enabled Australian university students to work in Democratic and Republican offices in the House and the Senate.
My internship journey in D.C. has been an amazing experience! Working in Congress, engaging in the pure political culture of the world's largest government and participating in the intricate process of policymaking in the legislative branch has been an incredibly enriching adventure that I’ve been able to experience alongside so many brilliant people.
I’m very fortunate to have been selected to intern in the office of Senator Mike Crapo. In a time of mass political divide, it’s people who actively engage in mutually-beneficial bipartisanship and work constructively with honourable governance and temperament who are critical to positive development.
My internship spanned over 9 weeks and gave me a front row seat to the inner workings of Congress. I immersed myself in the pressing political issues and had the rare opportunity to demonstrate my passion for policy development through public service. Work was intense and I took every opportunity to learn and experience new things. In an ordinary day, I would run errands, take constituents on tours of the capitol, answer phones and draft letters and press releases on behalf of the Senator. These tasks gave me the chance to learn in a fast paced environment that is demanding and exciting. My time in the U.S. enhanced my communication and team working skills as I collaborated on a number of policy development projects with Crapo’s American staff. It was my privilege to bring the Australian sense of work ethic and enthusiasm to the table which enabled me to offer fresh perspectives and different ways of accomplishing tasks.
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Crapo’s staff as many of these people have become my professional and personal mentors. I was blown away by the care and time that Mike Crapo’s Chief of Staff took to get to know me and support me in my career goals. She ensured that I got the most out of my experience in D.C by inviting me to attend President Trump’s second State of the Union as a guest of the Senator. I also had the unique opportunity to take a tour of the West Wing and the Capitol Dome. From observing the role of the Chief of Staff in the Crapo office I learnt that leading a team is not about micromanaging but rather, it’s often about stepping back and ensuring that each member of the team is given the space and respect to share their talents and develop.
My time in America was also enhanced through engaging in American culture. I thoroughly enjoyed attending sporting events, eating glorified American fast food, visiting all the American monuments from the White House to the Lincoln Memorial and making memories and connections with people that will last a life time. I was also able to experience opportunities off the Hill such as meeting with present and former US/Australian officials and journalists. While in the States, we also took advantage of our central location and visited Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and New York.
Participating in the 20th, and final, year of the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme was amazing in every aspect. I’m very thankful for the office of Senator Mike Crapo, the University of Monash and all the important people involved in the experience.