We interviewed four interns to learn more about their time at the Statehouse. Here’s what they had to say about their internships:
Major: Broadcast News/Politics
My responsibilities vary widely, but my primary job is to help Senators from the Democratic Caucus communicate with their constituents. To help them do this I’ll record and upload videos to Youtube, prepare videos for television, write press releases for radio, TV, and newspapers and I often record Senators making brief statements for their local radio stations back home.
I have yet to experience two similar days here, but each day usually contains some of the same activities. I usually record and edit press material in the morning before the Senate gavels in and I get to attend caucus when it is called for after the Senate gavels in. This is a privilege I haven’t taken for granted and it has placed me much closer to the workings of the Senate than I ever expected. Throughout the day I usually have an agenda that is set on the backburner as Senators ask for pictures with their constituents or as Rusty, our intern director, informs us that a certain video or audio recording is pressing.
I would recommend this internship first and foremost because you don’t feel like an intern while you work. This internship makes you feel like you are actually making a difference in the legislative process, which most people never experience. I would also recommend this internship because you gain practical experience in media, while building your resume, experiencing state government and working with an enjoyable team.”
University of Iowa
Major: Political Science, minor in Communication Studies
“I decided to apply for the experience of working in the Statehouse and living in Des Moines. I served as the Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary and my duties include taking photos for Senators, maintaining a calendar for the Senators and Clerks, blogging for the web site as well as working on various projects for staff members as they arise.
On any given day, I might be taking photographs at a Legislative Breakfast, live-streaming video of a press conference, helping with constituent events, emailing press releases, calling local press, or a variety of other tasks. Several times a week, I sit in on closed-door caucus meetings and get to see state politics up close and personal.
My favorite part of the experience has been that unlike other internships I’ve heard of, a day at the Capitol is never boring. I get to sit on the floor for events like the Condition of the State address, attend bill signings and meet elected officials and people from around the state. The networking opportunities here are great. It’s a lot of work, but I feel like I’ve grown both personally and professionally here and the experience has been invaluable.”
University of Iowa
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science
“I applied to work with the Senate Democrats because I thought it would be a good opportunity to expand my resume as well as to see another part of the state, outside of Iowa City. It provided me with an opportunity to make myself much more marketable for a career after I graduate, while earning credit through my school and working in a field I love.
I served as the Senate Media Intern for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Through the session, I was responsible for overseeing the audio and video captured of the Senators. I would capture material, edit it, and create news releases to send to radio and occasionally television stations as well as edit video to be featured on the Senate Democrats blog and Youtube.
A typical day during the legislative session is extremely eventful and high energy. I never found myself sitting down with nothing to do. I was able to work with Senators on the material we were producing as well as get a real perspective on what politics actually looks like in action.
I would recommend this internship for students that are really looking at an opportunity to expand their capabilities as well as their resumes. It improves your networking skills as well as your media savvy to prepare you for a job market that’s in demand of flexible, energetic, creative, and experienced individuals.”
Waukee High School
Future plans: serving as a military intelligence analyst for the Iowa National Guard and attending the University of Iowa
“I applied for this internship through my high school’s “school to work” program and I have been interning for the Iowa Democratic Caucus since October for 20 hours a week.
I applied because I wanted to gain comprehensive knowledge of law and law making policy, and I have learned a lot. I also wanted have first hand experience with senators and how they communicate with their constituents.
During session I would arrive at the Capitol early to take photos of Senators meeting with their constituents. Later in the day I would help Senators record audio to send out to their district radio stations so that the Senators can keep their constituents updated to what is happening at the capitol.
I would recommend this internship for high school student looking to build a great network for the future and for students who are interested in gaining a first hand view of legislation and the inner workings of state government.”