Some of the best opportunities to take advantage of at UConn and in the Honors Program are internships. During the spring 2012 semester, I participated in the UConn Honors Congressional Internship Program in Washington, D.C. Each year, UConn places a student with each one of the Connecticut Senate and House offices in Washington, D.C. As part of this internship, I worked in the office of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). I applied for the D.C. internship program because I wanted to get a practical and professional experience in my discipline of political science. I hoped the experience would help me grow professionally and that I would learn about politics and Congress in a way not possible in the classroom. Add to that the prospect of living in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, and the decision to apply was an easy one.
As an intern, some of my daily tasks included compiling news clippings, sorting mail, answering phones, booking tours for constituents, and entering constituent correspondence in the IQ computer system. In addition, I often was asked to attend briefings or hearings, on topics ranging from health care to agriculture policy, and type up memos for the relevant staffer. Furthermore, I wrote letters in response to constituent questions and performed other projects for the staff as needed. There were often days when I was the only full-time intern in the office, adding to my responsibilities.
Also, just living in D.C. near the National Mall and Smithsonian museums, having the ability to do research for class in the Library of Congress, and experiencing many different D.C. restaurants and neighborhoods always provided so many things to do. In particular, getting a tour of the Capitol Dome and being around for the blooming of the cherry blossoms were definitely highlights of the semester.
My experiences in UConn and Honors prepared me very well to take on this internship. Political science courses I had taken, particularly about Congress, helped give me the knowledge to understand how the institution worked and make connections with what I experienced every day. Furthermore, I developed organizational, research, communication, and leadership skills through Honors Program organizations, facilitating an UNIV class, and Honors coursework.
Overall, the D.C. Internship program helped me develop both professionally and academically, and made me a better political science student and citizen. The program fulfilled and exceeded my expectations. This amazing program is just one of the many internship opportunities the University of Connecticut and Honors Program can help students attain to further their personal and professional development.
John Dearborn, Political Science major, Honors Scholar, Class of 2013
To learn more about the UConn Honors Congressional Internship Program please visit the Honors Study Abroad/Away web page.